Riot Games considers expansion of League of Legends LCS
League of Legends developer Riot Games has revealed that they are considering expanding the number of teams in its League Championship Series (LCS) from 8 to 10. The change would apply to both the North American and European LCS for the 2015 season, though Nick Allen, Riot's League Operations Manager, "can't promise it'll happen."
The reasons for such a change, according to Allen, would be to allow for "longer, more exciting playoffs" and a more consistent schedule with no Super Weeks.
"One of the most compelling reasons for why we'd consider moving to this new structure is to promote a more exciting, action-packed league that's digestible for the viewer. We’ll be able to design a season that introduces more variety in teams and matchups, ultimately creating a more diverse and exciting experience for viewers and players," Allen explained.
"We know our current schedule structure with Super Weeks is demanding and rigorous for players and fans. Moving to a 10 team structure offers us more flexibility around the league format, and remedies some of these scheduling headaches. We could potentially eliminate Super Weeks and shorten the regular season with improved, longer playoff schedules."
Allen also said the changes would mean more player and team matchup diversity and playoff optimization.
"Right now, we’re feeling like 1-2 weeks of playoffs are too short. We want to make them more exciting, with proper buildup to the final matches for the championship title. We’re currently considering 3 weeks of playoffs. Under this new system, every team participating in the playoffs would be safe from relegation. Playoffs should be focused on winning and progression, not relegation," he continued.
"With any big changes, we know there are pros and cons. Our biggest concern is the depth of talent available to fill and support these additional teams. But based on the performance of Challenger Series teams and the long term advantages addressed above, we currently believe this is the right direction to take the league."
Allen wrapped things up by explaining that Riot is continuing to develop the competitive ecosystem of League of Legends. "As the league, teams, and players continue to evolve, so must our format and policies," he said. "We know there may be a few challenges, bumps, and bruises along the way, we’re committed to keeping the health of the league as our top priority in any decision we make."
Meanwhile, Riot Games recently chose Seoul's Sangram Stadium (previously used for the World Cup) as the place to hold the 2014 League of Legends LCS Championships. The South Korean stadium allows for 66,800 fans to attend, which is about 60,000 more than could fit in L.A.'s Nokia Theater last year.