“It would be nice to bring a League of Legends final to Donostia”

Monday, April 17, 2023, 5:23 p.m.

“I always really liked video games,” says Rojo Urquiola (San Sebastian 1986) and one of the top managers of the Professional Video Game League. «I was tired of working for so many years in the cinema and I wanted a job that was in Barcelona. When this opportunity arose I did not think twice. Esports events are awesome,” she explains.

This woman from San Sebastián is an excellent connoisseur of what eSports events (professional video game tournaments) entail. After having worked at Zinemaldia for many years, in 2017 she joined the LVP (Professional Video Game League) and went through different positions until reaching the position that she now holds. As head of operations, she says that her job is essentially to “make things happen.” A videogame event of this level is no small feat and, in his own words, “there are many elements that have to come together for this to go well, not only at the level of the game itself, but also in catering, food trucks, stands, accreditations , live broadcasts, etc.

Marina Rojo affirms that she has always had the thorn in her side of bringing a League of Legends event to Donostia: «It is a city that puts a lot of effort into each event it organizes, such as Jazzaldia or the Film Festival itself. I’ve always wanted to organize something here because I’ve worked in the city for many years and I think people would really appreciate it. They also attract many people from the peninsula who come to spend the weekend. We would love to be able to bring the competition close to La Concha”.

In this sense, he affirms that he is very curious about how the public in San Sebastián would respond to this show: «Nothing similar has ever been done in the city. It would be a great opportunity to see how the public would react and to take the temperature of their enthusiasm for esports. Consultations to bring them to Donostia have already begun.

“More formal than in the opera”

Recently, the Super League final between the Movistar Riders and Heretics teams held in Zaragoza welcomed 2,000 spectators, but Rojo assures that the venue was small: “we sold all the tickets in just over 24 hours, which shows us that people have really looking forward to coming to see live electronic sports. It is clear that in the future we will bet on even bigger events and spaces”.

He also affirms that the public in electronic sports is decisive: «In the spaces that we have been, the people of the organization have been delighted. At first they are a little reticent due to the fact that so many young people come, but they always end up giving in to the evidence. The public that comes is extremely friendly and polite. The mix of so many young people with that degree of respect is one of the things that makes eSports events unique. They are more formal than people who go to the opera.

«In all these years we have not had any problem with incidents of any kind», he affirms «I think that is why the public is growing more and more. We are also introducing sustainable measures such as clappers or ecological cups to reduce the amount of waste.”

Although looking to the future, Marina does not know what this sector will lead to, it is clear to her that electronic sports are here to stay: “some games may come and others leave, but the competition ecosystem will continue to be there.”

The winners of the last final of the ‘League of Legends’.

The rise of electronic sports

Virtual events also have their physical and face-to-face side, as events such as those organized by Marina Rojo demonstrate. Their official channels on social networks have hundreds of thousands of followers who see how professional players, paid by big brands and also grouped into teams, develop their skills. In the style of traditional sports, there are also matches divided into days, classifications, finals and, of course, juicy prizes. The League of Legends video game, of the strategy type, unites the interest of millions of players around the world and its finals are followed by the public in person and through the screens. It is estimated that since its launch in 2009, it has been played by more than 120 million people around the world. The final event, a world championship where the winners of the 12 regional leagues go, was watched in 2019 by 100 million people. Among the best-known players are soccer professionals such as Real Sociedad and Eibar players Álex Remiro and Jon Bautista among many others.

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