UPDATE [12/1/23] – This article originally reported on Riot Games’ announcement that the LEC had raised its minimum age to 18. However, League of Legends Esports EMEA Director Maximilian Peter Schmidt revealed via a tweet that the blog post announcement was an old version that was not meant to be published. He has clarified that the LEC will maintain its current minimum age requirement of 17 for 2023. The article has been updated to reflect this news.
Game publisher Riot Games has discussed the possibility of raising the minimum age requirement for players participating in the League of Legends EMEA Championship (LEC) from 17 to 18.
Riot Games originally stated in a blog post that it was changing its rules, with the reason for the change being that it would help ‘unlock’ new sponsorship opportunities for the competition’s teams. However, it has now been revealed that the blog post was in fact an old version that was not meant to be published. The post has since been updated without the minimum age rule.
The potential change in minimum age requirements does raise questions as to whether the LEC will look to loosen its restrictions on teams having sponsorships that target fans 18 or above on their jerseys.
The likes of gambling and alcohol logo placements are currently prohibited by the publisher. Whilst some alcohol sponsorships have been permitted in the past, notably the LCS itself teaming up with Bud Light, gambling partners have been unable to appear on team jerseys and are prohibited, per the competition’s 2023 rulebook.
New sponsorship opportunities or verticals would be a boost for organisations, especially at a time when many brands are cutting advertising and marketing budgets due to an economic downturn.
Some LEC franchises are already sponsored by gambling firms. GG.Bet for example is a partner of Team Vitality — albeit that deal is for its CS:GO team.
The LEC is undergoing huge structural changes for 2023, with the tournament moving to a three-day schedule and a three-split season. Moreover, the competition has introduced a new format that aims to provide more higher-quality matches and has integrated the MENA region.
Also in the blog post, Riot Games answered questions regarding LEC’s new format, such as how many championship points will be distributed each split and what happens if tiebreakers occur.