The rumours were true – UK organisation exceL Esports will be taking part in the rebranded EU LCS (now known as the European Championship or LEC) next year.
In the announcement video below, exceL MD Kieran Holmes-Darby confirmed the news.
He said: “I can’t quite believe that I’m here saying this, but we’re absolutely delighted to announce that as of 2019 exceL Esports will be competing in Riot Games’ inaugural League of Legends European Championship.
“We believe we’ve accomplished everything there is to accomplish in UK League of Legends and now we feel that the next progression is to do that on an international level.”
“This is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to exceL as a brand and to me as an individual.
“Whilst we understand that competing against some of the world’s best esports teams will undoubtedly be a challenge, we believe we’re prepared for it.”
Kieran spoke about entering UK League in 2015, growing their infrastructure, winning the ESL UK & Ireland spring split Premiership in 2016, taking part in the European Masters and opening the OMEN house training facility earlier this year.
The news comes after exceL Esports announced they had secured investment from Guinevere Capital back in September.
Further to this, exceL have partnered with a consortium led by the JRJ Group, a UK-based investment firm, to support their growth.
Dave Harris, exceL co-owner and Guinevere Capital MD, said: “We are really grateful for the financial backing and significant business expertise that has come together in this consortium and look forward to achieving success on and off the rift.”
“We believe we’ve accomplished everything there is to accomplish in UK League of Legends and now we feel that the next progression is to do that on an international level,” Kieran added.
“We want to take our fans – new and old – on a really exciting journey. We completely embraced being the plucky British underdog and have always achieved well in Europe because of that.
“Our purpose is to enable our people to build a career doing what they love.
“While it feels like we’ve made it, this is just the beginning. We’ve got so much hard work to do, to get to where we want to be, and we want to take you on that journey.”
Kieran revealed the following five-part mission for exceL:
- exceL to be considered one of the world’s best esports organisations
- Teams and players to achieve global success
- Scouting and recruitment processes to be considered best-in-class
- Talented individuals to be recognised in the industry
- To be the most successful esports organisation ever to have originated from the UK
exceL will not be the only UK org in the new LEC – Fnatic will also be taking part of course. Though they are not always regarded as a UK org, their headquarters are based in London.
Fnatic’s LEC teaser video can be found here.
Introducing the LEC: What is the new European Championship?
The League of Legends European Championship (LEC) is the name for Riot Games’ new franchise-based European league, replacing the EU LCS.
The developer said it wants to make the LEC ‘the most engaging esports league out there’ and ‘the most competitive and entertaining esports league in the world’.
“We’ve created something bigger, better and most importantly, uniquely us,” Riot said in a statement on this LEC web page. “Hardcore, humorous but just as competitive. We’ve also got a brand new look. We wanted a look that separates us from every other league.”
The teams taking part are as follows:
The inaugural LEC season kicks off on January 18th 2019 at Riot’s Berlin studios. The broadcast talent line-up and long-term league partners have yet to be revealed.
You can view the LEC teaser video here:
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.