It looks like League of Legends in the UK is about to get a major shot in the arm next year, according to rumours.
Esports News UK has heard that Riot Games is considering relocating the EU LCS from Germany to the UK.
The EU LCS studio (and several team gaming houses) are currently situated in Berlin. Rumours suggest LCS’ new home could be in London, where Riot recently opened a new office, or Leicester, where ESL UK has a studio and has struck a deal with the 800-seat Leicester Haymarket Theatre.
Rumours suggest Riot is considering moving from Germany because of the knock-on effect of Brexit. Back in July, Riot raised League of Legends RP prices in the UK following a drop in value of the pound.
While some sources close to the situation have stated the LCS rumour is true, others have dismissed it.
One thing is for certain: Riot Games has plans to develop and strengthen UK League of Legends – and change the format of high-level competitive play across Europe.
Riot has definitely been in talks with several UK organisations recently, as it works on its plans for next year.
The structure of competitive League of Legends in Europe is also rumoured to change, with the introduction of a new league consisting of the winning teams from all national leagues – for example the ESL UK & Ireland Premiership, the German Meisterschaft and Spanish Superliga.
This league would apparently sit one division below the Challenger Series, which will still sit one tier below the LCS, with teams able to get promoted and relegated between the leagues. This allows national league winners like the UK’s MnM Gaming to have a more direct route to upper tiers of League of Legends, possibly ditching the Challenger Series Qualifiers altogether.
“We are working on some spicy changes for Europe and appreciate all the feedback.”
Marc Schnell, Riot Games
It’s believed that ESL will handle some aspects of production, possibly the Challenger Series and/or the new national champions league, at Leicester.
Our sources said this rumour around structure was much more likely to happen than LCS moving to the UK.
It also tallies with a rumour posted by Dot Esports earlier this month, which suggested a ‘Champions League-style’ division of national league winners. However, that report also said the winners of this league would qualify to the LCS direct, and that LCS teams like Fnatic could run an academy side in this lower league.
Riot is apparently exploring the option of a franchise-like structure across the leagues. Earlier this year, it announced franchising is coming to the NA LCS, removing relegation and allowing teams to share a split of the overall revenues. It confirmed that the EU LCS would require a different solution.
Riot declined to comment on the rumour and speculation in this article. However, Riot’s EU esports product manager Marc “Riotsnowbird” Schnell did say on Reddit earlier this month that ‘spicy changes’ for Europe are on the horizon.
He said: “Some of the main things on our radar that we’ve been discussing with EU LCS teams over the past months include: a new format, a new revenue sharing model, longer planning horizons for teams with more viable monetisation for their business, and improvements on our ability to serve and reach our European audience that consists of many countries and languages.
“We’re not ready to share how it all fits together just yet, but we are working on some spicy changes for Europe and appreciate all the feedback.”
The League of Legends developer is expected to announce its changes in full before the end of this year.
Image source: Riot Flickr
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.