Riot Games Announces Major Changes in NA LCS 2017/2018

Riot Games has already made a multitude of changes in the leagues and competition, but one of the most powerful video game publishers and eSports organizers in the world doesn’t plan to stop there. If you are a loyal fan of League of Legends and tournaments that Riot Games hosts, then you are used to constant changes that aim to revolutionize the way we perceive eSports. On June 1, 2017, Riot Games made an important announcement regarding NA LCS 2017 and 2018. Keep reading to see what it is about.

League of Legends Icon Changes in NA LCS

Three main areas of focus in the latest statement posted by Riot Games are changes in the league structure, sharing revenue, and ensuring better working conditions for pro players.

When it comes to the league structure, Riot Games worked to provide stability for NA LCS 2017 teams and pros in order to create a unique environment that rewards the highest level of play and brings more entertainment to the fans. To make this happen, the NA LCS teams will become the permanent partners of the league starting 2018.

Basically, teams won’t face relegation, but they will have to undergo an application process. Moreover, new teams will not have to compete in promotion tournaments to justify their right to participate in NA LCS.

Basically, NA LCS will function something like NBA or NFL where a certain number of established teams are locked into place rather than shifting the lineup each year.

League of Legends Icon Why canceling relegations?

Since it is a league where all teams complete, then relegations seem logical. Therefore, the decision to cancel relegations raised a few eyebrows. In the statement, Riot Games explains that relegations make large investments in NA LCS and its team difficult which takes its toll on the pro players. Now, when relegations aren’t in the picture any longer, the league can be more competitive and this also unlocks the opportunity for larger investments.

Instead of knocking teams out right away, Riot Games introduced financial incentives for each placement in the league. Also, they introduced penalties for teams that finish last once the season is over. However, teams that finish in 9th or 10th place five times in a row over an eight-split span will lose their right to compete in NA LCS.

Three phases:

The new structure that will be implemented in 2018 will consist of three phases:

  • Phase 1: application submission – Riot Games will work with expert third parties to question teams about their plans for the NA LCS team and organization
  • Phase 2: application review – Riot Games goes through team proposals, finances, and carries out credit checks and background checks for the owners
  • Phase 3: partner announcement – Riot Games selects partner teams and announces the 2018 NA LCS competing teams in Q4 2017

League of Legends Icon Sharing revenue

The announcement explains that in a healthy, long-term league, money should be shared with those who contribute to it. The formation of partnerships with the teams allows Riot Games to share league-based revenues which include media deals, team-branded digital goods, and others.

The changes don’t stop there, teams will also have to share the portion of their revenue including merchandise deals and sponsorships. The goal here is to create a fully functional ecosystem where all parties can flourish while the strength and competitiveness of the league enhance significantly.

League of Legends Icon No Challenger series, Player’s Association onset

One of the most important changes introduced by Riot Games is cancellation of the well-known Challenger series. Instead, they will implement an Academy League wherein each NA LCS organization will field a developmental team. Now, the focus is on scouting and individual talent.

Academy League was created to give pro teams an opportunity to test young players and help them improve their performance. This will, also, give a chance to little-known players to get their name out there and advance in this esport.

Riot Games also created the Player’s Association for all players in the NA LCS league. They will fund the association themselves until players are ready to self-fund it and, thereby, convert it into an independent unity.

Representatives of the Player’s Association will be chosen by other players. It will be launched in three steps:

  • Riot Games presents a list of players to the NA LCS players in June. They vote for their picks
  • Newly elected representatives meet with the players during July-September period and finish setting up this organization
  • Full launch of the Player’s Association that will also be able to provide legal advice to players who need help

Bottom line

Riot Games introduce game-changing modifications to the NA LCS. Challenger Series is canceled and replaced by the Academy League, there are no relegations, revenue is shared, and players can get support and help through the Player’s Association. Most LoL fans are thrilled with the idea that resembles the system we see in NFL and NBA.

More about the League of Legends LCS:

About the Author: Aman El TawilAmna El Tawil is a news reporter and a technology blogger. For the past five years, she has worked for major publications and TV networks in the Middle East, covering one of region’s hotspots. When Amna is not chasing after the truth amidst gas canisters, she can be found cheering her favorite football team on, or unwinding with some online gaming.