Riot Games today revealed new plans for League of Legends Esports (LoL Esports) in Europe and Middle East and Africa (EMEA), marking the start of the second decade of its existence and an exciting new chapter in its history. The plans include key changes to the League of Legends EMEA Championship (LEC) and the merging of Europe, Türkiye, CIS, and Middle East and Africa (MENA) to become a single competitive region: EMEA.
Through these changes to the ecosystem, LoL Esports aspires to become the future of sports in EMEA and to enhance the level of competition in the region. It will give more players from all corners of the region a path to EMEA Masters (EM) and the opportunity to showcase their talent to teams in the LEC. It will also present fans across EMEA with even greater opportunities to watch elite level competition and look to unite fans across EMEA through their love of the sport.
“Over the past decade, our team has worked tirelessly to create an industry-leading esports ecosystem. Today, we’re excited to reveal our plan for the next decade of LoL Esports in EMEA and the changes we’re bringing to the LEC and wider ecosystem to continue offering a best-in-class experience to our players”, said Maximilian Peter Schmidt, Director, League of Legends Esports, EMEA. “We’re focused on offering our players the best competition possible. These changes will further enhance the opportunities for professional and aspiring LoL players in the region, giving them more avenues to reach the elite level of competition in EMEA.”
The key changes to the LEC and wider ecosystem from 2023 include:
The LEC will be renamed the League of Legends EMEA Championships and will undergo an exciting season overhaul, with format changes to the competition itself, and the introduction of the LEC Season Finals
The competition will take place across three splits: Winter, Spring, and Summer, with Winter Split and Spring Split taking place prior to MSI, and Summer Split and the LEC Season Finals taking place following MSI and prior to the League of Legends World Championship
Each split will begin with a single, best-of-one round-robin competition. This will then be followed by a best-of-three double-elimination group stage featuring the top eight teams, before concluding with a four-team, double-elimination best-of-five playoff stage
The season will culminate with the LEC Season Finals, which will feature the best six teams from the entire season - with split winners qualifying automatically - and the best teams in the competition qualifying for Worlds. The LEC Season Finals will also feature a roadshow event on the final weekend of the competition
EMEA Ecosystem and ERLs
Europe will merge with Türkiye, CIS and MENA to become EMEA; a single and united competitive region for LoL Esports creating a multi-tiered esports ecosystem that sets the bar for excellence in competition and entertainment
The unification of the region will see the TCL (Türkiye Championship League) and AL (Arabian League, previously Intel Arabian Cup) join the newly renamed ERL (EMEA Regional League) circuit
EU Masters will transition to become EMEA Masters (EM) - a truly pan-regional competition - giving more teams from across the new, unified region the opportunity to qualify and participate in the tournament and offering players the opportunity to showcase their talent
The changes mean all players that have residency status in Europe, Türkiye, CIS, and MENA can compete freely in the LEC and won’t be subject to the Interregional Movement Policy, offering aspiring pros in the region more pathways to reach the pinnacle of the top professional league within EMEA: the LEC
The LCL will remain suspended until further notice. Riot will continue to monitor the landscape and assess the possibility of including the league in the expanded ERL ecosystem at a later date
“Over the last decade, our EMEA region has been in a constant state of evolution, from the transformation of the EU LCS to the LEC, and the establishment of the most robust developmental ecosystem across the sport to today, as we expand the footprint of the region,” said Naz Aletaha, Global Head of League of Legends Esports. “As we plan for the future of LoL Esports, we’re dedicated to building on top of the foundation we laid in our first decade, growing the overall competitive landscape to a meaningful, multi-tiered ecosystem and maintaining the upward trajectory for many years to come.”
For further details about the next chapter of LoL Esports in EMEA, please see: https://lolemea.com/