You can’t deny the League of Legends European Championship has been entertaining this summer. Reigning champions G2 Esports has suffered blow after blow at the hands of its competitors and no two games have been the same this split. And while there’s been a lot of discussion online about the region’s format compared to the Chinese LPL and the Korean LCK, LEC commissioner Maximilian Peter Schmidt believes the strength in depth is one of the reason’s why the region is so successful.
Currently the LEC employs a best-of-one format, which keeps games fresh, interesting, and well, unpredictable. Although the LPL and LCK use best-of-threes, Schmidt has previously ruled out a format change as the general perception about the league is “very positive.” But despite arguments that suggest the other regions are more successful due to the competitive nature of the setup, Schmidt says there are more factors to Europe’s fortune.
“The LPL is undisputed the best region out there, and while I think Europe is generally considered the second strongest region at the moment, it’s hard to pin that on the format,” Schmidt tells The Loadout. “From my perspective, I think what’s equally important here is the depth of the ecosystem that we have created with the European Regional Leagues, European Masters, and the new talent coming into the league each year.
“We’ve seen this year especially with MAD Lions, a team of players who have not been playing professionally together at least since 2019, right? That was when most of them started and now they’re top of the tables. This is something I think is a big factor when it comes to the competitive success of Europe – we have a strong foundation and we always have new talent coming up, and the veterans push to new heights.”
That does of course not prove that we could not have done just as well with Bo2s or Bo3s, but should give some insight into why I am confident in our format and the decision making process that got us here.
— Maximilian Peter Schmidt (@RiotMAXtheX) July 5, 2020
And while it’s different from arguably two of the most successful regional leagues out there, the LEC’s viewership tells a different story. Recent stats suggest the league broke multiple viewership records during the first super week of the season, when 15 matches were played across three days. The LEC recorded a peak viewership of 479,784 – the highest ever for the region.
While these uncertain times have clearly boosted the league’s reach, Schmidt is confident that the unpredictability and the competitive nature of the LEC will help them retain some newcomers long after the lockdown ends.
“It’s a unique year for everyone,” he continues. “I think now more than ever, people are really looking for entertainment. They’re looking for a way to potentially take their mind off of the reality that we’re now living in. We believe that if we continue what were doing, that once the coronavirus is out of the way, I think fans will continue to find entertainment here and how that manifests in the numbers we’ll have to see.”