If IPL6 is Truly Cancelled, What Happens Next?

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Speculations have arisen surrounding the 6th IGN Pro League being cancelled or postponed in the past few weeks ever since the announcement of IGN’s layoffs and potential sale to Ziff Davis. It was scheduled to happen late March and premiere the top teams for competitive games such as Starcraft II, League of Legends, and ShootMania.

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Why would IPL6 be cancelled?

The cancellation of the event is just a “rumor” brought up by GameSpot due to some sponsored companies featured at IPL having their merchandise returned to them from the event, mixed with the previously mentioned occurrences. It’s important to note that for IPL5 TNW quotes that, “IGN put in “well more” than $1 million, according to its founder David Ting. IGN lost money on the event… but the company has made a five-year bet that it is only one year in. It expects in five years that its eSports efforts, the larger IPL series, to make money“. With future plans being spoken of, it’s hard to believe that IPL is truly going to take the turn for the worst. On February 22, soon after the Ziff Davis announcements, David Ting tweeted:

Without believing the cancellation to be finalized, I can’t help but wonder what the consequences would be if this rumor were to be true. Handling the amount of money that has been put into the event would just be the tip of the iceberg– what would IGN do to remedy the professional teams, sponsors, and spectators who have already purchased tickets, flights, and hotel rooms for the weekend in the Las Vegas area? Not to mention that IPL qualifiers have been underway for months.

So why would IPL6 be cancelled? Mismanaged money? A weaker team roster?– I guess we’re bound to find out eventually, but all signs seem to point to cancellation.

That being said, I’m going to keep my hopes up that a company decides to buy out IPL and continue to support the huge fanbase of supporters it has, including myself, who have bought tickets to the event over two months ago.

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What’s the Difference Between LCS and IPL?

For League of Legends, we can compare the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and the IGN Pro League (IPL6) offerings and standards:

  • LCS is run independently by Riot Games
  • There are 8 NA and 8 EU teams battling in two seasons until the end of August
  • One team from each division comes out on top and advances to the World Championship, which will have a huge million-dollar prize pool

Now as far as the IPL event, not only were the LCS games for that week going to be hosted on stage, but they had their own series for the “Challenger Cup” which entails:

  • “…. they [will] compete for prizes, recognition, and the first step to qualify for the second half of LCS Season 3” (IGN). Does this mean that the teams at IPL were to be qualified for the LCS Summer bracket? There is a lot of obscurity left on this subject.
  • 6 international LCS teams were to attend IPL6, but their purpose there is unspecified. They were said “to offer fans a snapshot at how the competition in each region is progressing. These exhibitions will showcase the different flavors in strategy that develop out of each geographical region and each individual tournament” (IGN).

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What This Means for eSports

Perhaps at the core of this issue is the analysis of change occurring in the professional eSports scene. ESPN has even recognized that eSports is an oncoming trend with a ton of potential with serious players and fans. With the LCS underway this season, the top NA and EU teams have a chance to compete in Riot’s private tournament, but it’s causing outside tournaments to struggle. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a dramatic affect on the Major League Gaming  (MLG) ran competitions, as well as other third-party hosted tournaments. The obscure nature of the eSports tournaments and scene leads me to believe that a lot of these choices aren’t finalized, and most importantly, have a lot of change to undergo.

The chain of events and rumors surrounding IGN and IPL6 are more meaningful than just mismanagement or an unfortunate outcome– it may very well be a sign that the professional eSports scene is changing completely to a more narrow set of teams and tournaments.

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Possible Alternatives

On Reddit, RiotRedBeard posted a comment regarding people who have previously bought IPL6 tickets and don’t want to waste their money and time:

ss (2013-03-01 at 09.11.02)

Apparently, Riot has their own plans to handle this situation, which is good to hear. On top of that; this somewhat confirms the rumors, although we’re still waiting on an official release from IGN.

What are your thoughts on this outcome? Could it negatively affect the underdog and more amateur teams and their chances to compete? 

Images and source information (c) their respective owners and publishers.

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