Game developer Riot Games has announced several changes to its top flight League of Legends EMEA league, the League of Legends EMEA Championship (LEC).
The changes include merging the group stage and playoffs of each split, extending breaks between splits, changes to the point system, a minimum player age increase to 18 and more.
The changes for the new season will be in place before the new split starts on January 13th 2024.
The first change is the location of the LEC matches. Riot Games has revamped its LEC Studio in Berlin, Germany to improve its broadcast capabilities and to further benefit fans that visit for matches. Matches will take place in the revamped studio, which Riot said would improve the overall experience for players, fans and staff.
Riot has also changed the competitive format of the LEC to merge the group stage and the playoffs for every split into a single bracket. It attributed the change to improving the experience for fans.
Additionally, LEC breaks will be extended next year, with pauses between Winter and Spring splits and Spring and MSI lengthened by one week. The break between Summer split and the LEC Season Finals will be shortened by one week to balance things out.
Championship points are also revamped, with fifth and sixth placed teams receiving the same amount of points, as well as seventh and eight placed teams. The Summer split champion will automatically qualify for Worlds, and the second and third placed teams will qualify for the Season Finals.
Finally, the minimum age for players in the LEC has been raised from 17 to 18. Regarding its reasoning for the move, Riot said the age limit increase would “enable teams and the LEC to explore additional revenue opportunities.”
While no examples were shared regarding revenue opportunities, this likely refers to opening the door to sponsorships from alcohol, gambling, or other brand sponsors that can’t be advertised to minors.