The EU LCS has undergone all kinds of changes in the last few years, and not all of them have worked out. With many of the teams in EU anxious about the financial future of the league, Riot has finally detailed their plans for the 2018 EU LCS season.
On Monday morning, Riot announced several significant changes to the EU LCS that it says will provide teams temporary relief before they create an officially partnered league in 2019.
Most importantly for viewers, Riot is reverting the best of three format that it has used for the past year in favor of a return to the best of one format from years past. Similarly, the league will also return to the single group, double round robin format, rather than the two groups it has used this past year. The EU LCS will also shift its broadcast schedule to Friday and Saturday for 2018.
According to Riot, these changes are being made to help increase viewer engagement and enjoyment. Riot says that a majority of fans prefer best of ones to best of threes thanks to the lower time commitment and the difficulty of watching best of threes if a viewer misses the first game.
Also changing ahead of the 2018 EU LCS season are some of the financial ties that teams will have with the league. While Riot doesn’t give any specific numbers for this, they do say that they will be increasing the funding for each of the teams that are in the league, as well as creating an incentive structure for the entire league that will provide more money based on the number of viewers that the league has as a whole. This is being done in hopes that teams will more actively grow their fan base to gain more viewers for the league.
Finally, the EU LCS will be moving promotion and relegation to a yearly event, to give teams more confidence and stability over the course of the entire year. This comes alongside changes to the Challenger Series that see it shift focus to better highlight regional teams and players rather than the hopes of gaining entry into the LCS.
According to Riot, these changes that are being made are mostly temporary and will serve as a bridge to a partnered league starting in 2019.