Yeah, the EU LCS is changing its format. Again. The news that Riot Games is scrapping the idea of a 24-team system was announced in an investigative ESPN article by Jacob Wolf. We’ve been following the evolution of the league’s format with a dose of healthy skepticism, but for the first time in a while, the proposed changes have us excited about the future of European League of Legends. Why? Because the EU LCS has finally decided to follow North America’s lead!
Something Ends, Something Begins
Let’s face it, the 24-team format was a mess. There were a lot of problems we’ve already covered in a separate article, but the gist of it is that EU would end up having weaker competition, worse production, and fewer financial incentives for the league’s participants. But a much bigger issue would be the massive content oversaturation, which would make it next to impossible to follow every European game. The new format presents a simple, yet elegant solution.
Enter the era of Bo1s.
That’s right, the EU LCS is going to move towards Bo1s for the entire 2018 season. Teams will play each other twice throughout the duration of the regular splits, completely abandoning the current two-group system. The top-6 lineups will qualify for the playoffs. We’ve discussed the pros and cons of this format here, but everything boils down to the fact that Bo1s remain competitive enough while bringing more viewing value to the fans.
The enhanced viewer experience isn’t the only change to look forward to. Following the concerns over the league’s financial future raised by H2K and UOL, the EU LCS is increasing its team stipend from 350,000€ to 500,000€. Granted, that’s probably not even close to the compensation that teams wanted, but it’s something. In a similar fashion, the dreaded promotion/relegation tournament will go away sometime between the spring and summer splits. So far, it’s unclear whether teams will have to pay for permanent slots like their counterparts did in North America, and what will happen to the Challenger league.
Of course, this development might’ve been forced by the fact that four top-tier EU LCS teams applied for the North American franchising. Speaking of which, Jacob Wolf also shed some light on the status of these applications. Apparently, Fnatic, Misfits, and Splyce didn’t make it past the first phase of the interviewing process and will remain in Europe. As for G2, they still have a chance to become a potential partner of the NA LCS.
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