eSports

North American League of Legends Introduces Monday Night Games

  • Updates to the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) includes an additional broadcast on Mondays.
  • Academy games will be played four days a week, with a brand new “Academy Rush” show featuring five matches on Fridays.
  • The LCS playoffs will now include a losers bracket, and the Summer playoffs will qualify all three North American teams for the World Championships.

Riot Games has published new changes to its top League of Legends competition in North America, the LCS, as well the tier-two LCS Academy. Most notably, regular season broadcasts will extend to three days a week, with four games on Saturday and Sunday (followed by an in-studio Academy game) and a new “Monday Night League” broadcast that will feature two “marquee match-ups” of the week.

Three academy games will also be broadcasted live from the LCS studios on Mondays. Five remote games will be played on Fridays, however, these will be featured in a new “Academy Rush” show, in which shoutcasters [commentators] and analysts will move between different games and their various highlight moments. The last of these Friday games will be shown in full.

The announcement explained that adding an Academy game to weekend LCS broadcasts was designed to give new players experience playing on-stage. The LCS Academy features 10 development teams run by the LCS team owners, and is a successor to the NA Challenger Series—which was part of a promotion-relegation model, and was discontinued in 2018. 

Changes will also be made to both the Spring and Summer playoff stages of the LCS. Whereas previous years featured a single-elimination bracket, the new format will be spread out over four weeks and feature a losers bracket, described in the diagram below. 

The Summer playoffs will expand this format further, with the first- and second-seed teams from the regular season getting a first-round bye. In previous years, only the Summer Champion advanced to the World Championships, with a second and third team qualifying through season performance or a regional championship. Now, the top three teams from the Summer playoffs will advance.

In 2019, the newly rebranded League of Legends European Championship (LEC) introduced similar changes to its format, which added more stakes to its third-place match and helped to improve season viewership. The LCS changes, while not identical, reward teams that can finish a season at the top of their league table.

The LCS will begin broadcasting on Jan. 25. This year’s season includes three new teams: Dignitas and Immortals will compete for the first time since 2017, while Evil Geniuses will reenter the league after its last performance in 2014, having purchased space in the league after the departure of Echo Fox.

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