Riot Games has officially announced much-needed changes for the European League Championship Series (EU LCS) that will take into affect next year.
Posting on its official website, the company outlined a healthy long-term future for esports in the region that will be cemented by short-term changes.
To begin with, the tournament format is returning to a single group with best-of-ones in order to turn around the negative impact on engagement over the past season. In addition, the broadcast days are being changed to Fridays and Saturdays from Thursdays and Sundays to further make it easier for fans to follow the scene.
The mid-year promotion and relegation system is being removed, something that the professional community has always been critical of when it comes to economic stability. Riot Games has promised to provide more relief by increasing the stipend for all participating teams. This was previously reported to be roughly 40 percent more than the current rate. To add to the economic changes, teams will also be receiving financial incentives based on the viewership they generate over the course of the year.
Finally, the Challenger Series is being replaced with a new national tournament where local country teams will be involved. The goal is to bring more attention to players and teams from outside the high-profile league.
All of the aforementioned changes are significant but designed for the short-term to help the EU LCS launch itself for what is coming next. Similar to the recently overhauled North American business model, the EU LCS will “transition to a partnership system” in 2019. More details on this will be shared next year.
Interestingly, Riot Games made no mention of the new regional leagues that were previously reported to be under strong consideration. It appears that the plan has been scrapped to make way for franchising.