Riot to reduce number of tier-one LoL esports teams and adopt unified split schedule in 2025

Riot Games is overhauling the League of Legends esports ecosystem starting in 2025. The changes include a unified split schedule for all regions and reducing the number of teams within tier-one leagues. 

Starting next season, League esports will begin its competitive year with the Winter Split, then move to an unnamed third international event, the Spring Split, the Mid-Season Invitational, and then the Summer Split and World Championship.

LLA fans at Finals Spring 2024. Image via Riot Games
CBLOL and LLA’s dedicated fan bases could help the spiraling viewership of the LCS. Photo via Riot Games

Riot also unveiled a first look at the new regional structures coming to League esports next year, which include several tier-one leagues merging with their closest neighbors, including an LCS, CBLOL, and LLA merger. 

The new structure will bring a three-split format to all regions to foster higher levels of competition and better showcase regional talents on a larger stage through a conference system.

In sports, a conference system typically organizes teams into groups based on geographic regions or competitive levels, allowing for regular-season play within each conference. Teams compete against others in their conference and may have inter-conference matches, with top teams advancing to the playoffs or championship tournaments.

Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, Japan, Vietnam, and Oceania will merge into a single multi-region league, League’s APAC. 

This reduction of teams means some long-standing organizations might not make the cut for the new, leaner league formats. As a result, the upcoming Summer Split could be the final chance to see some of these teams compete at the highest level, adding a poignant edge to the season’s matches.

The North American LCS reduced its number of teams from 10 to eight just six months ago, but more teams from the region will leave with the new format.

These sweeping changes will reshape the landscape of professional League for the foreseeable future, but whether they’ll help its growth or do the opposite remains to be seen.

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