2015 Season Considerations: Increasing Participating Teams

2015 Season Considerations: Increasing Participating Teams

I’m Nick Allen, League Operations Manager at Riot and I’m here to introduce a new blog series from the eSports team with the goal of explaining the thinking behind some of our choices. To kick off this series, I’m going to share one potential change that is being seriously considered for 2015. I can’t promise it’ll happen but wanted to make you all aware that it’s on our radar.

For 2015, we are exploring increasing the number of teams, from 8 to 10, in both the NA and EU LCS. We’re considering this change for a few core reasons:

  • Shortened splits that allow for longer, more exciting playoffs
  • Consistent schedule with no Super Weeks
  • Player and team matchup diversity
  • Playoff optimization

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.

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.

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.

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.

With a couple of seasons under our belt, we’re continuing to develop our competitive ecosystem. As the league, teams, and players continue to evolve, so must our format and policies. 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.

Keep an eye out for posts similar to this going forward to stay updated on our direction and rationale for the rest of the season and moving into 2015.

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