On 18th November 2022, Riot Games officially announced new plans for the League of Legends esports scene (LoL Esports) in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), marking the start of the second decade of its existence and an exciting chapter in its history.
The plan includes key changes to the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) and the merging of Europe, Türkiye, CIS, and the Middle East and Africa (MENA) to become a single competitive region. This single, collective region will be EMEA, replacing the LEC to become the League of Legends EMEA Championship.
Riot Unveils Next Chapter For League of Legends Esports
Essentially, this entire overhaul and implementation of the new collective region, including Europe, Türkiye, CIS, and MENA, means uniting all the areas and forming an even greater competitive scene that's both inclusive and jam-packed with action for players and fans. Through these changes, LoL Esports aspires to become the future of sports in EMEA and to enhance the level of competition in the region.
Furthermore, it will give more players from all corners of the region a path to EMEA Masters (EM) and the opportunity to showcase their talent to teams in the LEC. It will also present fans across EMEA with even greater opportunities to watch top-tier competitions. In addition, it'll look to unite fans across EMEA through their love of the sport.
League of Legends EMEA Championships 2023 Rundown
These are all the key changes of the LEC and wider ecosystem involving EMEA moving forward in 2023.
The LEC will be renamed the League of Legends EMEA Championships and will undergo an exciting season overhaul, with format changes to the competition itself, and the introduction of the LEC Season Finals.
The competition will occur across three splits: Winter, Spring, and Summer. The Winter Split and Spring Split will take place before MSI, and Summer Split. The LEC Season Finals will occur following MSI and before the League of Legends World Championship.
Each split will begin with a single, best-of-one round-robin competition. This will then be followed by a best-of-three double-elimination group stage featuring the top eight teams, before concluding with a four-team, double-elimination best-of-five playoff stage.
The season will culminate with the LEC Season Finals, featuring the best six teams from the entire season. Split winners will qualify automatically, and the best teams in the competition that perform consistently well will take a spot in Worlds. The LEC Season Finals will also feature a roadshow event on the final weekend of the competition.
League of Legends EMEA Ecosystem & Regional Circuit 2023
These are all the format changes and implementations involving the EMEA Ecosystem and ERLs moving forward in 2023.
Europe will merge with Türkiye, CIS, and MENA to become EMEA; a single and united competitive region for LoL Esports, creating a multi-tiered esports ecosystem that sets the bar for excellence in competition and entertainment.
The unification of the region will see the TCL (Türkiye Championship League) and AL (Arabian League, previously Intel Arabian Cup) join the newly renamed ERL (EMEA Regional League) circuit.
EU Masters will transition to become EMEA Masters (EM), a truly pan-regional competition giving more teams from across the new, unified region the opportunity to qualify and participate in the tournament and offering players the chance to showcase their talent.
The changes mean all players that have residency status in Europe, Türkiye, CIS, and MENA can compete freely in the LEC and won’t be subject to the Interregional Movement Policy, offering aspiring pros in the region more pathways to reach the pinnacle of the top professional league within EMEA: the LEC.
The LCL will remain suspended until further notice. Riot Games will continue to monitor the landscape and assess the possibility of including the league in the expanded ERL ecosystem at a later date. But for now, there are no plans to implement the LCL.
Riot Games Aims To Grow The Overall Competitive Landscape
In light of the announcement, Naz Aletaha, Global Head of League of Legends Esports, commented about the recent changes and implementation of the new collective EMEA region.
Aletaha said, "Over the last decade, our EMEA region has been in a constant state of evolution, from the transformation of the EU LCS to the LEC, and the establishment of the most robust developmental ecosystem across the sport to today, as we expand the footprint of the region.”
“As we plan for the future of LoL Esports, we’re dedicated to building on top of the foundation we laid in our first decade, growing the overall competitive landscape to a meaningful, multi-tiered ecosystem and maintaining the upward trajectory for many years to come," Naz Aletaha concluded.
For more information about LoL Esports' newly-introduced EMEA regional ecosystem, feel free to watch the full YouTube video above. For further details about the next chapter of LoL Esports in EMEA, visit Riot Games' official website.
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All featured images are courtesy of Riot Games.