After a long wait and in the face of mounting discontent among the team owners, Riot Games has finally revealed their plan for the EU LCS in 2018. Unfortunately, it’s less involved than many people expected, functioning more like a band-aid solution than a cure to the troubles plaguing the European League of Legends Championship Series.
First of all, Riot is abandoning the best of 1 format and switching around the days the league is going to be broadcast. In 2018, the EU LCS teams will play double round robin best of 1s in the regular season once again and the matches will take place on Friday and Saturday to make it easier for fans to watch the matches.
After a lot of research, Riot Games came to the conclusion that the best of 3 model and the Thursday/Friday broadcast over two streams had a negative impact on the EU LCS viewership numbers. It is Riot’s hope that the new schedule and format will allow fans to tune in to watch their favorite team play without feeling like a fish out of water when they find themselves in the middle of a bo3 series.
Riot Games is also addressing the financial concerns by the teams by increasing the payouts to every team as a band-aid solution and providing financial incentives to teams for building a dedicated fanbase which tunes in to watch their games. The more fans tune in to watch your games, growing the league in the process, the more you will get paid.
This is only a partial fix to the overall problem. Riot believes that revenue sharing and permanent partnerships are the future but they still have to get their ducks in a row to make it happen.
Speaking of permanent partnerships, they won’t come into effect in the NA LCS in 2018. Still, there will be no relegation after the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split concludes to give the teams more security when planning for the future.
Finally, the Challenger Series is getting disbanded. The Challenger Series was intended as a place where talent could be developed and a way for teams to get into the LCS if they are good enough. Riot agreed that this wasn’t working.
Instead, regional leagues will be organized, with a biannual event featuring the best of the non-LCS European teams taking place to shine a light on the unrecognized talent from the region.
Judging this new plan for the EU LCS going forward can only be done for certain when Riot Games reveals full details. Meanwhile, it looks like a measure meant to tide over the region until more serious measures are ready to be put into action. Even Riot Games admits this in the announcement. Will it work out? We will have to wait and see.