UPDATE Mar. 1:
According to new information, the dates for MSI 2021 are also all but confirmed, placing the event in Reykjavik, Iceland, for May 6-22. The host venue Laugardalshöll football stadium, an arena hosting 5,500 people. This has since been confirmed by Riot Games.
There will be no Play-Ins. Stage 1 will have 12 teams divided into three groups, each with a double round-robin. Stage 2 will have the six top teams in a double round-robin. The four best teams will advance to Stage 3, the Semifinals and Final.
League of Legends Esports Media may have possibly leaked the location of this year's Mid-Summer Invitational.
In a since-deleted image, LoL Esports Media decided to show a teaser for MSI 2021. But it might have shown a bit more than what Riot originally intended. The missing image shows a grainy black and grey snapshot of a city that looks to be covered in snow and surrounded by pine trees.
But it was a building far off in the background that seemed to give away MSI's location. A Reddit user shared the image online, pointing to the building's eerie similarities to a church located in Reykjavik, Iceland.
League of Legends community reacts to MSI being in Iceland
Fans were surprised by the location at first. Reykjavik may be one of Iceland's biggest cities, but it's actually quite small. A few years ago, the population was only 122,800. In comparison, Los Angeles has almost 4 million residents.
But considering the continued issues with COVID-19 in 2021, a smaller city has started to seem logical to the League of Legends community. Players and staff would be able to isolate quite well upon arriving in Reykjavik. And if Riot decides to keep the audience limited — or have no audience at all — the city and the venue don't have to be large and able to fit thousands of fans.
A fan from Reykjavik pointed out that Iceland currently allows up to 50 people inside a venue, which would make for quite a small and intimate gathering. Iceland residents speculated that MSI would be held at the Harpa Concert Hall in downtown Reyjkavik, which is smaller than most stadiums. In 2019, MSI took place at the Vietnam National Convention Center, which could easily fit over 2,000 fans.
Many League of Legends fans also saw it as a refreshing change from Germany, France, and Spain. Those are the European countries that seem to get the bulk of esports events and tournaments.
No matter where MSI is held, fans are just excited to see its return. Last year, Riot canceled MSI due to the pandemic after a rollercoaster ride of updates. The date and location kept changing until Riot ultimately tossed the idea of having the tournament altogether.
Said Riot at the time: "With [...] input from health authorities, local governments, regional leagues and teams, travel experts, and other stakeholders, we have made the difficult decision to not hold MSI in 2020. [...] While we must remain nimble with our plans, we are eager to celebrate everything that we love about League of Legends with a memorable Worlds 2020."
Riot has yet to announce any official MSI plans for 2021, but it's looking like the event will return.
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