Earlier this week Riot Games posted a new set of guidelines for North American League of Legends tournaments being held by the game’s community. Overall, the guidelines are pretty standard, addressing things like making sure the tournaments are fun for players and meets the company’s values, assuring that they’re not being held for profit and setting a specific limit on how much money can be given away as prizes. It also makes notes as to who may or may not sponsor these events and whether or not merchandising is allowed — if it’s anything related to Riot brands… it’s not allowed.
None of this is raising too many eyebrows. It all seems like the kind of demands that any company would make regarding their IPs. But, there is one section at the bottom that the High School Esports Community has taken issue with — even penning an open letter to Riot in order to address it.
Point 9 of the guidelines addresses how college and high school competitions are to be handled. These rules are in addition to the ones that came before and limit the length of time an event can run, how many schools can participate, and how they are to be branded. The last bit restricts the use of words like “varsity”, “season”, and “league”.
According to the letter, the signers feel that Riot is attempting to “monopolize an educational frontier whose citizens are best served by a variety of ambassadors” and “collapse pathways of student exploration by demanding contracts of exclusivity”, as well as “wrest event branding from the hands of students”. To address these issues, the letter suggests four actions Riot can take. These include removing the above-mentioned item 9 from the new guidelines, allocating seats for high school esports leaders on the Riot Scholastic Association of America, create ways for high school esports associations to gain sanctioning for events using Riot’s IPs, and pledging to opt-out of receiving money from certain types of organizations.
The letter has a large number of signers ranging from students and esports associated individuals to CEOs to the clerk of a county assessor’s office. It’s a pretty interesting mix of people who have come together on this. If you’re interested in reading or signing the letter, it’s available on Google docs via the link above.
We have reached out to Riot for comment and will update this piece when we hear back.