SAN FRANCISCO -- This year, Riot Games selected the Chase Center in San Francisco to host the culmination of a season long of thrilling games. The 2022 League of Legends World Championship featured a star-studded performance by Lil Nas X and Jackson Wang in front of an arena packed with fans cheering on their favorite gamers.
At stake? The shiny Summoner's Cup and the coveted title of "League of Legends 2022 World Champions."
"Here we are at the Chase Center where the Golden State Warriors play, with Lil Nas X and Jackson Wang taking our stage, with a Tiffany's trophy being lifted by our world finalists," said Naz Aletaha, the Global Head of League of Legends Esports at Riot games. "Esports has really become part of mainstream culture."
As one of the biggest esports in the world, League of Legends boasts a massive community with over 600 million people who have played the game.
"Back in 2012, it was right around the time I started at the company and at the time esports were very niche," explained Aletaha. "Pro players couldn't compete for a living, they couldn't make a living."
Over the years, Riot Games invested and built a globally integrated sport where players could pursue a career and build community through spectatorship. Fast forward to 2022, esports has become a worldwide phenomenon with celebrity involvement.
Rapper, singer, and songwriter Lil Nas X's "Star Walkin'" is the League of Legends Worlds Anthem.
"Making this song and just being around this community has been the best for me," said Lil Nas X.
And League of Legends shows no signs of slowing down and expanding to include more women gamers like Naz Aletaha.
"There are hundreds of 'rioters' around the world who are building this esport," said
Aletaha. "There are so many women in this industry that are doing incredible things, I hope that young girls are able to look up to them and say, 'oh I can see myself doing that one day.'"
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