LoL: Riot reveals major moves for League esports

A new regional league and a new third international event is among the highlights of major changes in the... Paolo | 11. June 2024

A new regional league and a new third international event is among the highlights of major changes in the global League of Legends esports ecosystem.

Riot Games announced these major changes in a blog post dated June 11th. 

First off, Riot Games announced a new model for the LCS and CBLOL, proposing their transformation into North and South American conferences, respectively. Each conference will feature six existing partnered teams, one team from the LLA (Latin America), and a ‘guest team’ spot, allowing for promotion and relegation through a Tier 2 system.

This proposed new structure, Riot says, will result in eight teams competing in each of the new Americas conferences. The promotion/relegation system includes a tournament at the end of each Americas season, where “Guest Teams” from each conference will compete against the top Tier 2 teams. The victorious teams will secure a spot in the conference for the following season. Specifics on which teams will be ‘Guest Teams’ for the 2025 season remain undisclosed.

Riot Games says it has begun discussions with teams about forming multi-region leagues. Additionally, the new Americas region will adopt a three-split season format, similar to the EMEA’s LEC since 2023. An international event will be held at the end of each split.

Riot Games has outlined the structure for the new Americas splits as well.

In Split 1, teams will initially compete within their respective North and South American conferences. Top performers will then advance to cross-conference play, where one team will qualify for the new global tournament.

In Split 2, the top team from each conference will secure a slot at the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), resulting in two teams from the Americas participating.

By Split 3, the Americas Regional Championship will determine three teams advancing to Worlds, ensuring representation from both conferences.

A proposal to form a unified Asia-Pacific League is also being proposed, merging current country-based leagues such as the Vietnam Championship Series (VCS), Pacific Championship Series (PCS) the League of Legends Japan League (LJL) and the League of Legends Circuit Oceania (LCO).

The structure seems to be veering towards a similar successful path used by Riot’s other major esports title VALORANT, which is currently adapting four main regional leagues: VCT CN for China, VCT Americas for NA and LATAM, VCT EMEA for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and the Asia-oriented VCT Pacific.

Meanwhile, the new international event will feature five teams from the three main regions (LEC, LPL, and LCK), along with the newly-formed Americas and APAC leagues. To accommodate this event, all League of Legends regions will eventually adopt the three-split structure, previously implemented by the LEC. This tournament will be smaller in scale, featuring only the winners from the five main leagues, but it will be an international LAN event.

The new tournament is expected to take place after the first split, referred to as the Winter Split in the LEC. Following the tournament’s conclusion, the second split will qualify teams for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) as usual. After MSI, teams will shift their focus to the World Championship.

The third split in each region will culminate in a Regional Championship, akin to those held by the LEC in 2023.

Riot Games says this new structure promises a more streamlined approach for League of Legends esports, which they believe will be easier to follow with more events. 

However, these changes will have some tradeoffs, such as the reduction of teams within their Tier 1 ecosystem. 

“By reducing the number of teams, we’ll be able to focus support from the GRP (Global Revenue Pool) by ensuring revenues are distributed among fewer teams, thereby increasing revenue per team,” Riot Games said.

“This approach aims to concentrate player talent, simplify the ecosystem for fans, and ultimately enhance the quality of matches, making the viewing experience more enjoyable and worthwhile,” Riot added.