The League of Legends European Championship will reach the fifth year anniversary of its rebranding in 2023. And while it can’t be doubted that the growth of the league has been constant in the past seasons, the past and future changes in partners might undermine the stability of the league.
Last year Schalke 04 left the scene, and this year Misfits Gaming sold its spot to Team Heretics, which will begin its journey in the LEC in 2023. On top of that, various rumours of the scene expanding have been circulating this year, with Maximilian Peter Schmidt, new Head of Esports for League of Legends in EMEA at Riot Games and former LEC Commissioner telling The Loadout that “it will happen at some point.” However, according to Schmidt there are a lot of “external factors” that the LEC has to take into consideration when talking about expanding the league, and it will take a long time to make “the right decision.”
“[An expansion] inherently changes the format and it changes how you place the product on the market. You want to make sure it is the right decision, as it is not something you can go back on”, says Schmidt.
The turmoil around the future of the LEC seems to be even louder now that the league is entering a new era, but Schmidt assures us that the stability of the league is not among his concerns. The new Head of Esports for the region explains that the stabilizing factor resides in a good relationship with the league’s partners, making it clear that as long as the partners’ owners are all aligned with the long term plans and long-term vision of the LEC, he has “no concerns” about the league’s stability.
Schmidt then goes on to share his goodbyes for Misfits by saying how the team was a “fantastic” partner to work with across the years and how “sad” it is for him to see them go. But with the departure of Misfits the LEC will welcome a new entry, Team Heretics. “Heretics is a fantastic organization to join the league,” Schmidt says about the newcomers to the LEC. He then proceeds to highlight how “incredibly unique to the LEC” Team Heretics will be, ensuring that this new addition will be an “incredible asset” for the league to ensure “new perspectives.”
According to Schmidt, the introduction of these new perspectives and “different backgrounds” will allow the league to “evolve and take the best opportunities and the best experiences from everybody, and apply them then for the entirety of the league to see what works and what doesn’t.”
The former LEC Commissioner pinpoints the identity of the LEC as the pivotal factor for the growth of the scene, and the path to success is made possible by the partners, teams, and the “people behind the scenes.” Schmidt further adds that the partnership with the teams in particular has been “incredibly pivotal”, and if he could he would go back in time and tell himself that “talking to the teams, our partners, and any parties that have any touchpoints with the LEC is incredibly valuable.”
Though the 2023 LEC season is a ways off yet, with the LoL Worlds 2022 yet to kick off, it certainly feels that concerns surrounding the health of the league are unnecessary. Yes, we have said farewell to Misfits, but it’ll be exciting to see how Team Heretics makes its mark on the LEC.