In an interview with french publication L'Équipe, Maximilian Peter Schmidt, current head of League of Legends Esports in EMEA, explained that expansion for the LEC is practically inevitable, but when can we expect a change?
The LEC is one of the most popular leagues in the world. Sure, viewership has dropped in 2022 compared to 2021 and 2020, but due to the COVID situation slightly calming down less people tuned in to watch esports. But that doesn't mean the LEC has less of a following. On the contrary, hosting live events with an audience seems to only boost the popularity.
On September 11, 2022 the Malmö Arena came to life with one of the loudest crowds in League of Legends history as Rogue took on G2 Esports for the LEC crown. With the popularity of the LEC unquestionable, it leads to questions whether the league is going to expand and add in extra teams.
LEC Expansion Clear Goal for Future
Maximilian Peter Schmidt, head of LoL esports EMEA, talked to french publication L'Équipe and explained that expansion seems to be inevitable for the LEC. The team is constantly evaluating the possibilities of adding more teams.
Expansion isn't something new to sports. The National Hockey League added two new teams in the last five years. League of Legends esports has also had its fair share of expansions with the LPL having a total of 14 teams in 2018 and have since expanded to 17, with two more set to join the Chinese pro league in 2023.
So it really wouldn't be too farfetched to add more competition and teams into the LEC, right? If the sponsors, teams and fans want it. Especially with teams from the ERLs (European Regional Leagues) vying for a spot in the LEC.
KOI and Karmine Corp are two teams that come to mind, with KOI signing a deal to merge with Rogue in the next season. It could open up to KCorp also joining the LEC in the future. These teams have already got their own fan-following, so it would bring more viewers to the biggest esports league in Europe.
LEC Waiting For Right Moment to Expand
There is no set date or timetable for this LEC expansion yet. In the interview with L'Équipe Schmidt stated that he doesn't know when the expansion will eventually happen. Whether that's in five years or ten years from now, but when it does happen, there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account.
The league's partners, current teams and applicants will all have to be involved in the process of expansion. For a team to be added as an expansion team, they will have to apply with Riot to show business structures, plans for the future as part of the league and the LoL community and much more.
Therefore, we won't have a 12-team LEC just yet in 2023. We are going to have to wait a bit longer to know when Riot plans this huge project on expansion. With Team Heretics joining the LEC, taking over the slot of Misfits and TSM having shown interest in the LEC, it could be sooner than we think though, right?