League of Legends has been running official eSport tournaments since early 2013. The champion series branded NA LCS upon its creation, but six years later they simplified the acronym to just LCS. League of Legends NA LCS is one of the first official eSports leagues to receive recognition by the community. To understand the LCS it is important to understand how the LCS NA Competitive Split works.
To the inexperienced viewer or prospective eSport competitor, the entire structure can seem a bit daunting. There is a lot of jumbled information online that does not fully explain how the structure works. That is why we are here, to help beginners understand how the LCS works and more importantly just how many competitive splits it has.
The Basic Format of the LCS
As of 2019, the North American LCS is made up of 10 teams. The season is divided into two splits. These are called the Spring Split and the Summer Split. You can think of splits as in two halves of the full season each year.
The splits are played in a 9-week regular season and then a 3-week playoff bracket. Each team plays each other twice for a total of 90 games. Then the teams are ranked based on their win percentage during those games. All ties are settled via tiebreaker games if needed at the end of the season.
The top 6 teams playoff at the end of each split to determine the final standing. Then the top 2 teams of the regular season receive a bye and progress into the semi-finals while the remaining 4 play each other in the quarter-finals.
Each split’s playoff awards cash prizes and Championship Points. Contestants use the points to qualify for the annual League of Legends World Championship. The winner of the summer split and another team with the highest number of Championship Points automatically qualify for the World Championship.
The next four teams organized by Championship Point totals then play in a Regional Qualifier tournament to determine the final qualifying team among them.
eSports Structure Is Similar To Professional Sports
eSports is slowly evolving to look similar to the competitive sport structure. From coverage of the events to the actual structure, things are changing for the better. This is a great thing for players as it means minimum salaries. The Leagues themselves are starting to look like the NBA and NFL in many respects.
LCS NA Competitive Split structure is slowly starting to look like a traditional North American sports league. The biggest factor in the change is the standardized scheduling and permanent franchises within the LCS. Originally the LCS rotated teams which were inconsistent for coaches trying to build brand image. It was impossible for any team to keep a consistent fanbase when no one knew who would be returning.
Then Riot moved up from 8 to 10 teams in the rotation. This paired with official teams allowed fans to have something to rally behind. The structure became sustainable and promoted long-term growth within the league. eSports was quickly moving into the world of big-name sponsors.
The league is already being broadcast on some major sports channels. This series of changes and rise of popularity helped create the standard structure fans see today. It is good to see eSports adopting the traditional team sports model as it slowly grows to become part of the biggest sporting events on the globe.
Fans are finding a future where It is because of these structured changes that fans and prospective competitors can have a future in eSports.
Which LCS Competitive Split Matters More?
Both splits are important to the overall goal of the league. Each competing team hopes to get into the World Championship and LCS is the best way to get there. Most fans agree that the Summer Split is the heaviest in determining qualifications for the World Championship.
That is not to devalue the work done in the Spring Split. For many, it is the chance to see who has a chance into the World Championship. The first split is often when fans cheer on their favorite teams to victory. Some fans will have the opportunity to see the hard work of other teams and maybe find a new group to rally behind.
Anyone looking at getting into watching the LCS will find that both splits are equally entertaining. Fundamentally they are the same but as teams battle for victory, the results can be unexpected. The final match at the end of the Summer Split is the biggest. Teams bring their best to the table for the enjoyment of fans and the chance at winning entry into the World Championship.
As the world of eSports continues to evolve we will be seeing more and more changes to the industry. This means that many will soon be able to find permanent careers as eSport competitors. There is already a world of scholarships and official teams appearing across the United States making dreams come true.
For more information on how to get involved in the eSports industry, you can check out our guide to Career Paths within the eSports Industry.2