LCS Format Changes for the 2016 Summer Split

In North America and Europe, teams have been playing best-of-ones each day for several years now. That trend stops in less than 2 weeks when the 2016 Summer Split gets under way and teams start competing in best-of-two and best-of-three formats. The format and scheduling for the summer split have been changed completely, so let’s waste no time in learning exactly what the summer has in store for us.

EU LCS New Format

EULCSschedule

Image from lolesports.com

The EU LCS starts on the second day of June and will have ten, best-of-two, matches each week. With the best-of-two formats, EU teams will double their amount of games played in previous splits. Teams will receive 3 points for winning both games in the series, 1 point for winning one game in the series, and 0 points for losing both games. The playoff format will remain the same and the EU LCS will continue to be played on Thursday and Friday, however, week 6 and week 9 will not follow that schedule. Those weeks will be played on the weekend which will allow Riot to evaluate how changing the broadcast time affects their viewers.

The biggest changes will be the broadcasting this split. RiotGames will no longer be broadcasting every single game for the EU LCS or NA LCS. Games will be broadcasted on three different channels this split. The main channel for EU LCS games this season will be twitch.tv/EULCS1. The second channel, twitch.tv/EULCS2, will be used to stream games from the second and new studio in Berlin. The final channel that will bring you EU LCS games will be twitch.tv/RiotGames as they show important matches and fan favorite matchups from across the globe. The picture above shows how the five series each day will be broadcasted and where you can find those games. The EU LCS Summer Split kicks off June 2nd at 11:00 AM EST.


NA LCS New Format

NALCSschedule

Image from lolesports.com

The NA LCS will look extremely different this split after many changes occurred to its’ format. Best-of-ones are out the door and best-of-threes are here. The NA LCS will have 10, best-of-three, matches each weekend spanning from Friday-Sunday. Like the EU LCS, the NA LCS has also added a second studio that will play host to several games each week. The best-of-three format will allow North American teams to play more games each season and force teams to learn how to adjust to strategies between games and series. Teams will have to win 2 out of 3 games to earn a win each day instead of only being 1 and done. The playoff format will remain the same.

The broadcasting change for the NA LCS is even crazier than the EU LCS changes. The NA LCS will add Friday to their schedule and span 3 days across 3 different channels. Much like the EU LCS, the NA LCS will have their own main channel, twitch.tv/NALCS1 to broadcast games. They will also have a second channel, twitch.tv/NALCS2, to stream games from their second stage. As well as having twitch.tv/RiotGames broadcast huge matchups and fan favorite games. The image above shows how the ten series each week will be divided into each day. NA LCS action kicks off on June 3rd, at 2PM EST.


What Does the New Format and Broadcasting Schedule Mean for Viewers?

Image from DailyDot.com

Image from DailyDot.com

Positives: First of all, it means there will be a large increase in professional League of Legends games for the fans to enjoy. Broadcasts each day will not drag on all day and will be much quicker. There will be less down time for each day and more action. Best-of-ones had a flukey element to them sometimes, so the best-of-two and best-of-three formats will provide more clarity to viewers in who was the better team across the entire series. Hopefully, this format will improve the teams in both Western regions, but that is not a guarantee by any means.

Negatives: The main issue will be simultaneous matches going on with the ability to only focus on one. Even the EU LCS broadcast will overlap the NA LCS broadcast on Fridays. For those viewers that enjoyed watching each game one after another may be forced to watch more VODs after games. The constant switching between 2 or 3 channels could become annoying for viewers to watch. There are 4 new Twitch channels that will need to be looked out for as well. I’m not sure which games Youtube will broadcast either or if they will set up multiple channels as well. It becomes harder for fans to see what happens with each team each week unless they dig into some replays and watch. Then again, fans may only want to watch certain teams anyway.

Whether you view the changes in a positive way or a negative way, change may be good. It will be an exciting split to be a part of and should be a memorable one. See you June 2nd for the kick off of the summer split.

By: Jeff “Gravy” Miskin

Twitter: @BigBadGravy