Riot Games is reportedly considering shifting North America’s premier League of Legends competition, the LCS, to a single, year-long season from 2021 onwards, in a swap that will see all 10 franchised teams play each other five times.
These reports, which were first revealed by Travis Gafford, suggest Riot will do away with Spring Split completely heading into next year. The LCS will instead be run as a long season, with a break midway through for the Mid-Season Invitational.
The LCS team tasked with representing NA at MSI will be selected from a mid-season playoff event between the top six teams ahead of the break, the reports suggest.
Riot is also reportedly planning to host LCS broadcast days on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with each gameday “full of games.” The full season would then see each LCS team play an estimated 45 matches across around 30 game weeks.
Finally, each calendar season will reportedly begin with a ‘preseason tournament,’ similar to the South Korea KeSPA Cup, or Overwatch League’s preseason playoffs. It is not yet clear if just LCS teams would participate in that early event.
This LCS switch may also eventually be packaged with a single-platform broadcast deal; Gafford listed Twitch, YouTube, Caffeine, and more as potential suitors.
LCS Academy also comes under microscope
According to the reports, the top-level LCS competition won’t be the only North American league coming under the microscope either. The current Academy system will also “get a lot smaller,” the reports suggest, with less overall games.
“Riot are planning to open up play between Academy teams and amateur lineups right now, so that the line can blur a bit more,” Gafford explained in his Nov. 4 video.
The idea behind this, Dexerto believes, is to provide a clearer pathway from the bottom of the League of Legends ecosystem all the way to the LCS system. Right now the Academy league acts as a semi-closed system for around 50 players.
North America struggled at the 2020 World Championship. TSM finished 0-6, making history as the first top-seed team to do so. FlyQuest and Team Liquid fared better with 3-3 records, but both failed to make it to quarterfinals in Shanghai.
While Riot Games has yet to confirm any of the rumored changes, they did provide a statement on the reports.
LCS commissioner Chris Greeley said, “The LCS team is always listening to community feedback. We evaluate potential new changes to our format every offseason. As always, we’ll have more information on the upcoming season closer to its start date.”
It’s worth keeping in mind, these LCS changes are not yet locked in, and things may still change. Dexerto will keep you updated on the situation as it unfolds.