The European League Championship Series (EU LCS) is still not being allowed to create franchises like the North American competitive circuit. Instead, Riot Games is siding with a rather different business model.
According to a report by ESPN, the series is being split into four different regional leagues. London, Paris, Berlin, and Barcelona will each feature six teams for League of Legends. This will bring the total participating teams to 24 for the EU LCS, which is currently only 10.
In addition, there will be a greater league that will be composed of the top teams from each of the four regions. The third and fourth placed teams will need to compete in play-ins and the fifth and sixth teams will compete in open qualifiers in order to secure spots in the greater league.
Additional information revealed by sources confirm that the yet-to-be-named greater league will consist of several groups stages, double-elimination playoffs. The winners will earn Championship Points for the annual World Championship.
Riot Games will personally be granting multi-year licenses to competing teams, which signals the end of relegation. The teams currently playing in the EU LCS will not be replaced and must declare their home regions in the coming months. Riot Games will be helping out to procure venues for the leagues in their respective cities.
The changes are certainly dramatic and might work in the long run. On one hand, more teams will get the opportunity of setting foot on the main stage and creating regional followers to promote their respective brands without the fear of relegation. On the other, multiple regional leagues might dilute the overall competitive League of Legends scene in Europe.
Provided that the report is legitimate, an official announcement should be made in the coming weeks. It will arrive on the backs of criticism made by several professional teams in the region due to a lack of revenue generation.