UKLC reveal: UK League Championship to feature new 'tower' format, kicks off February 13th

UPDATE (February 9th): Mo Fadl, head of esports at Riot UK, has responded to Esports News UK’s request for comment on the change from a traditional prize pool format to giving teams revenue-based incentives.
He said: “Teams were signed based on their business models, so rather than being rewarded with a single prize pool we wanted to offer layers of funding to incentivise them to build their brand and to help us build the UKLC.
“The UKLC will reward teams for their league standing, engagement with fans, their reach and more. We want the UK esports scene to grow so we’re looking at ways to help teams and players create sustainable businesses for years to come.”
You can also check out the UKLC spring 2019 team roster roundup here.
 
Original article (published January 23rd 2019):
Riot Games and LVP have finally unveiled the UK League Championship (UKLC), the official regional League of Legends competition for the UK.
We already know the nine teams taking part in the UKLC (including the Fnatic and exceL academy sides), now we’ve received most of the details including the format and schedule.
The UKLC season will run from February 13th to March 31st and will introduce a new ‘tower’ competitive format, which is reflected in the UKLC logo.
Each week teams will attempt to scale the UKLC tower by going head-to-head in a best-of-one knockout tournament. The team that climbs highest will then get to face the previous week’s tower champion. If they are victorious, they become tower champion and get bragging rights for the next week, along with a bunch of championship points.
 

“Extra investment in the UK, with companies such as Riot and LVP providing a multi-million-pound, multi-year investment, indicates an extremely bright future for UK esports.”
Margot James, Minister for Digital

 
The spring split will span seven weeks, with the top four teams at the end of the regular season moving to forward playoffs and the grand final taking place on March 31st.
The team who wins will be crowned UK League Champion and will go on to compete in the EU Masters, along with winners of other European Regional Leagues (ERLs), like France (where last year’s Forge of Champions winners Misfits Academy will be playing), Germany and more.
Prize pools have not yet been revealed.
The 2019 UKLC season is formed of two splits, which will each feature regular season play.
Riot said in a statement that the UKLC, together with the Forge of Champions (FoC) tournament that pits grassroots teams against one another and UK pro teams, ‘develops the UK ecosystem further by offering players consistency, as well as a clear and accessible path to going pro’.
The idea is that the FoC will take place, then the top teams in that will face the bottom teams from the UKLC in a promotion tournament to determine who qualifies for the next UKLC. Then, the winners of the UKLC will progress to the EU Masters. Then this will repeat again, so that there are two seasons per year.
The UKLC will also feature expert analysis and commentary from homegrown British talent Ciernan “Excoundrel” Lowe, Dan “Aux” Harrison and Jake “Hiprain” Matthews.
 

“The UKLC will reward teams for their league standing, engagement with fans, their reach and more. We want the UK esports scene to grow so we’re looking at ways to help teams and players create sustainable businesses for years to come.”
Mo Fadl, Riot UK

 
As mentioned in last year’s Forge of Champions announcement, this UKLC/FoC initiative represents Riot’s biggest commitment to the UK to date with a multi-million pound, multi-year investment in UK esports.
LVP is also close to finishing its UK-based office in London complete with a new broadcast suite.
UKLC teams were required to go through a ‘rigorous selection process’ to show their commitment to their players and ensure teams wanted to create long-term recognisable brands.
Each team submitted a business plan including the working environment for players, legal information and financial plans, as well as a brand plan and strategy for increasing team followings.
The UKLC will be broadcast every Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm-11pm GMT on LVP UK’s Twitch channel.
 

What they say

‘UK esports is steadily growing’ 

 Margot James, Minister for Digital, said: “Esports is one of the fastest-growing global industries, and through our modern industrial strategy we aim to help this highly innovative and skilled sector go from strength to strength.

“UK esports is steadily growing in terms of talent and viewership. Extra investment in the UK, with companies such as Riot and LVP providing a multi-million-pound, multi-year investment, indicates an extremely bright future for the scene.”

 

‘Something for the UK to be proud of’

Mo Fadl, head of esports at Riot UK, said: “The UK esports scene has a tremendous potential but has been neglected in the past, which has meant the audience has gravitated naturally more toward global esports content.

“By leveling up the entertainment experience and the focus on UK talent, we’re hoping to ignite the the passion of the fans and develop a scene for the UK to engage with and be proud of.”

 

‘Our goal is to put UK esports on the map’

Sergi Mesonero, VP and co-founder at LVP, commented: “Together with Riot our goal is to put the UK esports scene on the map.

“Building the LVP London studio is a huge commitment for us, but means we’ll be embedded in the culture and able to create new and unique content and experiences that we know the community will love.”

 

‘Fnatic are proud to be a part of this’

Benoit Pagotto, Fnatic brand director, said: “We’re really excited to be part of the UK League Championship – this will offer our loyal base of fans in the UK a new opportunity to support the team they love. A big thank you must go to Riot who have made this commitment to the UK market.

“We know exactly how passionate esports fans in the UK are, so can’t wait to get started on our home turf.

“Since Fnatic’s first LoL Worlds win back in 2011, the League of Legends Championship Series and affiliated leagues has established itself as the world’s most prestigious and globally respected professional esports league. We’re proud to be a part of this.”

‘exceL are extremely supportive of the UKLC’

“Riot and LVP are creating the UKLC which is something we’re extremely supportive of,” said Kieran Holmes-Darby, co-founder and MD at exceL.

“Being an organisation that was forged in UK esports, it is highly important for us to see the further development of the UK scene.

“We’re incredibly proud to have made it to the LEC this year, but we still recognise the immense value in investing in UK talent and supporting our home turf.”

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