Following a two-year hiatus without a live audience, the League of Legends World Championship – one of the most-watched eSports events in the world – has finally returned with full-fledged houses for the year’s events in North America.
The final teams will compete for the title tomorrow when the audience culminates with the much-anticipated match at the Chase Centre in San Francisco.
Riot Games’ manager of live broadcast production, Sam Chaimson, says that seeing fans cheering with signs, screaming and jumping up and down adds so much color, flavor, and texture to the game. The joyous energy that viewers feel when watching from home is infectious.
Riot Games is preparing to serve live productions in Mexico City, New York City, and Atlanta between January and March by using its REMI production model and leveraging Riot’s LCS Studio in Los Angeles.
In 2020 and 2021, Riot Games was an early pioneer in the REMI realm. The pandemic drastically accelerated its remote production efforts, and the fruits of this effort are paying off at Worlds this year.
As Riot Games’ technical broadcast manager, Michael Caal, notes, the company has been using Remote Event Monitoring (REMI) for some time. “It’s always been on our roadmap, but the pandemic definitely fast-forwarded a lot of workflows that we had been holding off on,” he says.
“We had to get the production team accustomed to those workflows quickly because it all happened very fast.” Once Riot started experimenting with in-person events again, it had confidence that it could do those same types of workflows, just with even better technologies.
The REMI Caravan
Riot’s global events team provides a broadcast of League of Legends to 22 broadcast partners in 21 languages for the Play-In stage in Mexico City (Arena Esports Stadium at Artz Pedregal), Group and Quarterfinal stages in NYC (Hulu Theater at MSG), Semi-finals in Atlanta (State Farm Arena), and this weekend’s Finals at the Chase Centre.
The LoL World Feed, which is broadcast from the Riot Direct Network, is backhauled to the L.A. LCS Studio for post-production; only a small portion of the production team is present at an event. The lead director and assistant director are on site, with all other crew members in Los Angeles.
Chaimson says that Riot split the job into two parts because they wanted to get the best of both worlds. “We want to be able to provide creative input so easily in person,” he says. “Thanks to the networking and transmission technology Riot has developed, the latency for comms and video when interfacing with our TD back in Los Angeles is pretty negligible. We’re able to cut a cool show that’s not compromised by the split.”
Riot Games has built out a pair of transmission kits (TX1 and TX2) and a pair of audio-routing kits (MADI-based and fiber optic) that enable their engineers to accommodate the constant globetrotting required by major events.
The company uses these kits to ensure near zero-level latency between their games’ client software and the Realm, their private game server used exclusively for pro-level competitive LoL and other Riot Esports major global events.
Caal says that the two transition racks were built at the beginning of the year and that they have put in a lot of mileage: Turkey, Copenhagen, and Singapore are among the locations visited by the two racks.
Each consists of 40×16 Haivision SRT paths, which are also used for the core network broadcast switches that Caal string out to all locations around the venue.
Riot Games Los Angeles, CA headquarters houses the bulk of its production team, as well as Riot’s global transmission operation, which distributes a clean version of the world feed to teams in Brazil, China, Korea, Turkey, and other regions to create their own world broadcast featuring commentary in their respective languages.