LEC (League of Legends European Championship) is the title tournament of the competitive League of Legends held for European teams. Championships under the auspices of the LEC began to take place in 2013, but the actual start of the LEC was put in 2018. It is one of the four “big” regions of the League of Legends.
The beginning of the LEC esports history takes in 2013. Then Riot Games kicked off the competitive scene of League of Legends and the European region played a key role in it.
First LEC seasons (2013-2018)
At the dawn of the infrastructure development of the competitive League of Legends, the LEC was held under the auspices of the Riot Season 3 EU Championship Series. It was a long time before the classic look that the LEC would acquire only by 2018, but Riot managed to outline the contours.
The first LEC championship, also known as the Riot Season 3 EU Championship Series, was held in a League format: 8 teams play in a ten-week bo1 round-robin bracket. All this action is divided into two splits - spring and summer. Before the start of the semester, qualifiers were held to determine the participants in the league.
Each split featured a group stage and a playoff. Six teams entered the main stage of the championship and competed for the main prize pool of $50,000.
Fnatic became the winners of the debut European championship Riot Season 3 EU Championship Series. Later, the “orange” became a regular guest of the championship tournaments.
A similar LEC format was maintained until 2018 with minor but significant changes. For example, they were in 2015.
At the EU LCS 2015, the list of participants in the European league has expanded to 10 teams. In the near future, this number of participants will become the norm for a European tournament.
The number of participants grew, but the winners were still the same. Fnatic continued to dominate the competitive scene, and in the EU LCS 2015 Summer Split, the team lost only 2 maps, and those in the grand final.
Another pen trial took place in 2017. Then, to the number of participants that had become the standard, it was decided to apply the changed format of the tournament: the EU LCS introduced division into groups.
For the first and only time, the European teams were divided into two equal pots of 5 teams each. That year, 6 teams made it to the playoffs, two left a slot for the next season, and the bottom two were eliminated from the LEC system.
Transition to a franchise model
In 2017, a key event is taking place in the world of competitive League of Legends. Riot Games Announce North American NA LCS transition to franchise model.
Such a system allowed the teams to win a guaranteed profit, and encouraged the desire to play within the ecosystem. With the transition of NA LCS, which was now called simply LCS, a small scandal happened.
At first, Riot Games did not plan similar changes in other regions, which led to a flurry of criticism from the managers of teams outside the American franchise.
Some European teams like G2 and Fnatic. Tried, but naturally flew by. There were rumors about the possible departure of major players from the European scene, but the matter did not go beyond speculation. However, already in 2018, they came to a decision similar to that adopted for North America - the European League of Legends is switching to a franchise model with all the ensuing consequences.
The transition to a franchise model took place in 2019.
The LEC will be played by partner teams whose slot in the league is retained regardless of the result. In total, 10 clubs became partners:
- G2 Esports
- Team Vitality
- SK Gaming
- Schalke 04
- Misfits Gaming
A slot on the LEC could be sold or bought. Entry fees for participation in the LEC were also introduced: for partner teams they amounted to 8 million euros, and for teams outside the LEC partner list.
Minimum conditions for players
With the transition of the LEC to a new model of holding, the approach to rewarding tournament participants has also changed. The LEC minimum wage has increased from $24,000 to $60,000 per year.
Among other things, the players of clubs participating in the LEC were included in the league's income distribution system. Performers received additional cash bonuses with high League performance.
Income distribution system
The main innovation that the LEC received during the transition to a new model of conduct is the revenue distribution system. She attracted big teams to be part of the competition. The system itself operated on the following principles:
- The share of players in the LRP (League Revenue Pool) is 35%, of which the players' wages are paid under the contract. If the league is performing well and the proportion of players is greater than their combined salary, the difference will be split between the players.
- The command share is 32.5%. A portion of this share will be distributed equally among each organization, and a portion will be divided into appropriations based on competition and engagement.
- The remaining 32.5% goes to Riot Games for broadcast production, live streaming, and league management.
This approach meant close cooperation between Riot and League members. The LEC was required to share income from league sponsorships, broadcasts and media rights, and the participating teams were required to share income from sponsors and merch.
Partners LEC 2023
- G2 Esports
- M.A.D. Lions
- SK Gaming
- Team BDS
- Team Heretics
- Team Vitality
Newcomers to the league were Team Heretics and KOI, who took over the slot previously owned by Rogue.
All LEC winners (2013-2022)
Since the inception of the LEC in 2013, there have been 18 splits. Despite the large number of contenders, the LEC had only 5 champions in all time.
- Fnatic – LEC 2013 (Spring, Summer), LEC Spring 2014, LEC 2015 (Spring, Summer), LEC 2018 (Spring, Summer)
- Alliance–LEC Summer 2014
- G2 Esports – LEC 2016 (Spring, Summer), LEC 2017 (Spring, Summer), LEC 2019 (Spring, Summer), LEC Spring 2020 (Spring, Summer), LEC Spring 2022
- MAD Lions – LEC 2021 (Spring, Summer)
- Rogue – LEC Summer 2022
The winners of the European League, and the teams ranked in the top three, represent the European region in the World Championships.
Team results from the LEC at Worlds
Fnatic remains the best team from Europe in the international arena. The Oranges won the first world championship in the history of the competitive League of Legends - Worlds 2011. In 2019, G2 Esports were close to winning the second title for Europe:
- Worlds 2011 - Fnatic, 1st place
- Worlds 2012 - CLG Europe, 3rd-4th place
- Worlds 2013 - Fnatic, 3rd-4th place
- Worlds 2014 - Alliance and SK Gaming, 9th-11th place
- Worlds 2015 - Fnatic and Origen, 3rd-4th place
- Worlds 2016 – H2k-Gaming, 3rd-4th place
- Worlds 2017 - Fnatic and Misfits Gaming, 5th-8th
- Worlds 2018 – G2 Esports, 3rd-4th place
- Worlds 2019 – G2 Esports, 2nd place
- Worlds 2020 - G2 Esports, 3rd-4th place
- Worlds 2021 - MAD Lions, 5th-8th place
- Worlds 2022 - Rogue, 5th-8th place
LEC changes in 2023
In the 2023 season, the LEC is getting a major change, and the League itself is expanding noticeably with an additional winter split. The subsidiary European Masters also falls under the expansion, which from 2023 will gather even more representatives of the earth's hemisphere.
LEC Winter 2023
The LEC 2023 Winter Split will start in January 2023. The draw will start with bo1 Round-Robin, which will last 3 weeks and after that the group stages for 8 teams will start with bo3 double-elimination format. In February of the same year, a playoff for 4 teams with double-elimination bo5 will be played.
LEC Spring 2023
The LEC 2023 Spring Split will start in March 2023. The formula for holding is similar to the winter one. The playoffs will take place in April 2023.
LEC Summer 2023
The start of the LEC 2023 Summer Split is scheduled for June 2023, after a month-long break. The playoffs of LEC Summer 2023 will be held in July of the same year.
The winner of each split will automatically receive a slot in the LEC Season Finals, which will take place in the summer. The best teams of the three draws will be joined by teams that have collected enough Championship Points. In total, 6 teams will play in the European finals.