Serving Kentucky's Schools and Student Athletes Since 1917

9/21/23 – Kentucky Esports – The Status of League of Legends and Other Titles

September 21, 2023 Athletic Department Blog Updates


League of Legends

With a registration deadline of tomorrow, September 22, and the fall/winter season set to start next Monday — I want to share the status of one of our two longest-standing Esports titles in the state of Kentucky.

League of Legends, along with Rocket League, launched Esports in Kentucky.  From our first in-person State Championship at Collins High School back on January 28, 2019, through this spring’s exciting championship at the University of Kentucky, League of Legends has been a staple of Kentucky Esports.  It has offered one of the most exciting in-person championships we have — one that has consistently had a number of fans watching the action either in person or via Twitch.

Being 5v5, it offers the highest participation opportunities thus far of any title that we offer (though we do have two titles close at 4v4).

To give a little perspective, enrollment in Super Smash Bros. is outpacing LoL nearly 5-to-1 while Mario Kart and Rocket League are outpacing the title 2-to-1.

I’m not telling coaches anything new that interest in League of Legends has declined over the years. This is not just a Kentucky issue – it mirrors a nationwide decline. 2023-2024 saw roughly a 30% decline in League of Legends participation, and we may be looking at another 30% decline this year unless interest picks up.  In Kentucky, many of the players last year were Juniors or Seniors, and titles like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart are much more popular with the current demographic.

It seems that the current student body just may not be as interested in the title anymore (it has been out for 14 years).  There are so many competing games.  Some may say that it is the game’s slower play style compared to the many competing games that are out there. It certainly takes a large investment of time for both players and coaches.  Perhaps the younger generations aren’t looking for that slower game-play style that LoL offers and are gravitating to games that feature faster gameplay like the Switch titles, Rocket League, Madden, and others.

That being said, I am able to end on a positive note!

Kentucky schools and teams have historically held off on enrolling until the last week (even the last day).  Though coaches and teams were getting a little nervous, I am happy to report that as of today we are going to be able to once again have a State League and State Championship for League of Legends, but only barely!

While I am not sure what the future holds, I think it is important to share this update with our Esport Teams and schools as the future of the title is in your hands.  Thank you to the schools, coaches, and student-athletes who are fighting hard to keep it going.

In regards to our other titles, I can safely report now that, along with League of Legends, we will be able to continue to have State Leagues (and thus a State Championship) in Rocket League, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Madden NFL 24.

Spatoon 3

We are very close to being able to move this title from Regional to State League and therefore be able to offer a State Championship for the Spring season.  The timing is such that we simply cannot get it switched to a state league this fall, but this bodes well for the future, and I encourage schools to continue enrolling your teams this fall so they become accustomed to competitive 4v4 Splatoon 3 play.  I can only see this title becoming more and more popular like the other Switch titles.

As I wrap up, best of luck this season – I know your teams have to be super-excited and ready to start play next week.  Game on!


About the Kentucky High School Athletic Association

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association was organized in 1917 and is the agency designated by the Kentucky Department of Education to manage high school athletics in the Commonwealth. The Association is a voluntary nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of 290 member schools, both public and non-public. The KHSAA awards 229 state championships to 59 teams and 178 individuals in 13 sports and six sport-activities, funds catastrophic insurance coverage for its more than 109,000 rostered member school student-athletes, provides coaching education and sports safety programs for more than 12,000 coaches and licenses and facilitates the distribution of training material for over 4,000 contest officials.














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