EU LCS No More – LEC Rebrand and Teams Announced
The self-proclaimed evolution of the EU LCS, the LEC (League of Legends European Championship) has been announced ahead of the Spring 2019 circuit.
“Our mission is to bring our diverse community together through our shared love of the game, and create unforgettable moments through peerless competitive play. We unleash together,” said Riot in their official article on the LEC. Similarly, the new logo is to represent the “explosive” nature of the league and its competition.
In addition to the rebrand, Riot Games announced the 10 League of Legends teams participating in the newly-founded franchising program for Europe:
- FC Schalke 04
- G2 Esports
- Misfits Gaming
- Origen (run by RFRSH and Astralis)
- exceL Esports
- SK Gaming
- Team Vitality
These changes represent both a similar direction to the NA LCS as well as a completely different lane that EU will travel. Focusing on regional teams is something that has been integral to the LCS, LCK and other regions as a whole throughout the history of competitive League of Legends. Now, through franchising, Riot hopes to take it to the next level.
According to ESPN, when questioned Riot Games Europe’s Marc Schnell (Head of EU League Management) explained that “regionalism” was something to be looked at but not a deciding factor in which teams made it as a franchise member. Similarly, non-esports branding was not as much of a necessity for EU as it was in NA, where sponsors are running amok– only Schalke 04 and Misfits Gaming (through the Miami Heat) have strong ties to non-endemic, sports-centric brands.
Already, rivalries are beginning to form. In particular, the rivalry between G2 Esports and Origen will be front and center. Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño, owner of Origen, has a long history with G2 Esports founder Carlos “ocelote” Rodríguez Santiago. Now, their two teams will get to battle it out head-to-head in the newly branded LEC Spring 2019 season. Who needs a Fnatic rivalry when you can find one closer to home?
At the time of this article’s publication, the lolesports North America website continued to utilize EU LCS branding, though the European site had transitioned.