Riot Games already introduced important changes for the NA LCS and there were some rumors about important modifications in European league too. All this time, Riot Games remained silent while both fans and media could only speculate about things to come. There is no need for speculations anymore because big changes are about to be introduced in EU LCS in 2018, according to the official statement.
Format in 2018
In their newly released statement, Riot Games admitted they focused on NA LCS recently, but they’re determined to improve quality of League of Legends competitions and aid in the global promotion of esports. After making some important modifications in NA LCS, it’s time to shift focus to European league and they started by making format changes that will take place in 2018.
After a thorough analysis of the current format, Bo3, it has been concluded that EU LCS has become difficult to watch based on engagement and viewership perspective. The main reason for the introduction of Bo3 format was the assumption that LoL fans would be able to watch more games from their favorite teams during one series. Although reactions for the format were positive at first, it turned out to be a bad idea because it negatively impacted the engagement.
Since the format needs important modifications, Riot Games announced that EU LCS will go back to a single league, double round-robin Bo1 starting from spring 2018. The new format makes it easier to watch games across various teams, requires less time commitment from fans, and it enables broadcasting on a single stream, which most fans and players prefer.
Changes in broadcasting
Although the change in format is the most important modification that is bound to increase engagement and viewership, it’s not the only update for the upcoming season of EU LCS. Broadcasting will be moved for Fridays and Saturdays for the regular season starting on January 19, 2018. Riot Games took into consideration player feedback and used data to determine the most preferred broadcasting days for European fans.
No mid-season promotion/relegation
Mid-season promotion or relegation is one of the most disliked features of the EU LCS and starting 2018, this will not be a rule. Riot Games confirmed they will remove mid-year promotion/relegation in order to give more security to teams when making investments in sponsorships, infrastructure, team strategies, among other things. Also, removal of mid-year promotion or relegation is one step forward to create a more stable league.
EU LCS will also include changes in financial aspect and although the plans are still in their early stages, Riot Games mentioned they will increase annual financial support to teams. The financial support is meant to help teams solve common struggles they face and decrease the pressure that comes with the tighter budget.
Moreover, teams who contribute the most to the viewership will be rewarded with a bonus. The update in EU LCS for 2018 states that teams will receive financial incentives based on their viewership. This is yet another way to attract more fans and increase engagement. It all comes to down to the ability of some team to get more fandom to watch their games.
No Challenger series
Starting 2018, Riot Games will remove Challenger series and replace it with a pan-European tournament that focuses on local country teams. The goal here is to give more chance for rising talents to shine and get their name out there. Top teams from different local competitions will qualify for the pan-European tournament that will take place twice a year.
Generally speaking, fans welcomed some changes but disliked others. While they aren’t fans of Bo3 and are happy to see Bo1 back, they expressed dissatisfaction with cancellation of Challenger series. Moreover, LoL fans also like the idea of Friday + Saturday for broadcasting days and are thrilled with the fact there won’t be the obvious imbalance between teams like it was in previous seasons.
Riot Games announced they give EU LCS a much-needed makeover. Starting 2018, the league will feature important changes in format, viewership, financial support, and promotion/relegation.
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About the Author: Amna 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.