In an interview with the French publication L’Équipe, Maximilian Peter Schmidt, current head of League of Legends Esports in EMEA, explained that the expansion of the LEC is practically inevitable, but when can we expect a change?
The LEC is one of the most popular leagues in the world. Sure, viewership numbers dropped in 2022 compared to 2021 and 2020, but due to the calming COVID situation slightly fewer people tuned in to watch esports. But that doesn’t mean the LEC is any less successful. On the contrary, hosting live events with an audience seems to only boost popularity.
On September 11, 2022, Malmö Arena came alive with one of the loudest crowds in League of Legends history as Rogue took on G2 Esports for the LEC crown. With the undoubted popularity of the LEC, it begs the question whether the league will grow and add additional teams.
Expansion of the LEC Clear objective for the future
Maximilian Peter Schmidt, Head of LoL esports EMEA, spoke with French publication The Team and explained that expansion seems inevitable for the LEC. The team is constantly evaluating opportunities to add more teams.
Expansion is nothing new in sports. The National Hockey League has added two new teams in the past five years. League of Legends esports has also had its fair share of expansions with the LPL having a total of 14 teams in 2018 and has since expanded to 17, with two more set to join the Chinese professional league in 2023.
So it really wouldn’t be a stretch to add more competition and teams to the LEC, would it? If sponsors, teams and fans want it. Especially with teams from the ERLs (European Regional Leagues) vying for a place in the LEC.
KOI and Karmine Corp. are two teams that come to mind, with KOI signing a deal to merge with Rogue next season. This could allow KCorp to join the LEC in the future as well. These teams already have their own fans, which would bring more viewers to Europe’s biggest esports league.
LEC waits for the right moment to expand
There is no date or timeframe for this LEC expansion yet. In the interview with L’Équipe, Schmidt said he doesn’t know when the expansion will finally happen. Whether it’s five years from now or ten years from now, but when it does, there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account.
League partners, current teams and applicants will all need to be involved in the expansion process. For a team to be added as an expansion team, they will need to apply to Riot to show business structures, plans for the future within the league, and the LoL Community and much more.
Therefore, we won’t have a 12-team LEC in 2023 just yet. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out when Riot is planning this huge expansion project. With Team Heretics joining the LEC, taking over from Misfits and TSM having shown interest in the LECit could be sooner than we think, right?