Riot Games has announced a change to their Worlds 2022 schedule as the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia becomes the new landing spot for the semifinals in place of Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.
When the Worlds 2022 cities were revealed, excitement grew in the Canadian League of Legends fanbase as Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena was announced as the battleground for the Worlds 2022 semifinals. While Toronto has never hosted Worlds before, the LCS finals took place there for the 2016 Summer Split.
However, the trip to Toronto will need to wait a little longer after Riot Games revealed that the new destination for that section of the tournament will be at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia due to ongoing challenges of international travel presented by the pandemic.
“We are committed to upholding our tradition of a multi-city Worlds tour despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, and look forward to hosting the 2022 Semifinals at the state-of-the-art State Farm Arena in Atlanta,” said Riot's Global Head of LoL Esports Naz Aletaha. “This news is no doubt disappointing to our fans and partners in Canada, and we want to sincerely thank Toronto, Scotiabank Arena, and our community for their understanding. We look forward to bringing a major LoL Esports event there in the future.”
VISA Challenges presented by the pandemic
According to the press release, the pandemic created its own set of challenges “securing multi-entry visas to the U.S”. As a result, they revealed the decision was made to “provide a clear path” for teams to compete in all stages of the international tournament.
As for Riot Games’ new location of State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, it may end up being more convenient for for teams competing at Worlds 2022. Apart from being in the U.S, Atlanta, Georgia is also a short flight from Worlds 2022’s Quarterfinals spot in New York City, reducing travel time and potential risks therein.
"We are honored that Atlanta now has this incredible opportunity to host the world's biggest esports event", said Todd Harris, Atlanta Esports Alliance Chair. "We look forward to working closely with Riot Games, our public and private partners, and our local community to create a remarkable experience for all involved."
All the other city locations will remain the same for Worlds 2022 as the new schedule is as follows.
Play-Ins: Mexico City, Mexico
Groups & Quarterfinals: New York, New York
Semifinals: Atlanta, Georgia
Finals: San Francisco, California
While the starting date for Worlds 2022 has yet to be revealed, it is likely that the tournament will take place sometime in October and November, similar to years past.