The League of Legends European Championship ballooning beyond 10 teams is “inevitable,” competition boss Maximilian Peter Schmidt has admitted, though the exact timing on when LEC expansion begins is still very much up in the air—not all of which Riot Games can control.
The LEC will add more League teams eventually, it appears.
Newly anointed LEC commissioner Schmidt has rekindled the European League expansion conversation after an interview with French publication L’Équipe, confirming the continental competition has plans to grow.
“I think expansion of the LEC is an inevitable thing,” Schmidt said, translated from the French interview. “We are constantly evaluating the possibilities.”
Right now, the LEC is made up of 10 franchised teams: Astralis, Excel, Fnatic, G2 Esports, MAD Lions, Misfits Gaming, SK Gaming, Team BDS, Team Vitality, and the latest European champions Rogue, who claimed their very first League championship this weekend just gone in Malmö, Sweden.
There have been whispers around the League scene for some time that regional heavyweights like Karmine Corp, KOI, and more would join the scene in an expansion.
But while expansion is off the cards for LEC 2023 Spring and beyond, Schmidt is convinced the league will and must bring more franchised squads into the fold in the next few years to continue the LEC surge.
The question now is when, not if. And it’s a big question.
“I don’t know when it will happen, exactly… three, five, 10, 20 years [maybe],” Schmidt said. According to the European League boss, the greenlight has already been given but getting the timing right is everything, for Riot and the teams. “It depends on a lot of things,” he added, “some of which we don’t control.”
“And,” Schmidt continued in the translated interview, “we have to work with our partner teams to make sure we make the best decision for the league all together.”
When the time comes, Riot will field a number of suitors for the newly-opened LEC spots in a similar fashion to when they brought franchising to Europe in 2019. Business structure, ambitions, and plans for the future will all play a role in any hopeful ventures in the League application process.
Dot Esports understands regional teams won’t be favored either.
Whenever the LEC does expand, it could be on the back of a new League format: in the same interview, Schmidt confirmed the competition is tossing up options—including a drop in best-of-one games across the season.
The LEC has concluded for the year now. Rogue, Fnatic, G2, and MAD are now preparing for the 2022 League World Championship, where they will represent Europe.