Detroit, Michigan - August 24: --- during the 2019 League of Legends LCS Summer Finals at Little Caesars Arena on August 24, 2019 in Detroit,(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

The 2020 LCS is going to look drastically different than the 2019 edition. Riot Games announced today that the league will be making numerous changes to their format. The decisions were made with feedback and in conjunction with the teams participating in the league. The following changes will be implemented for 2020.

The LCS Weekend Will Be Three Days

For the last few years, the LCS has been played on Saturdays and Sundays. There had been speculation that the league would be expanding to three days, although many people thought it would be Friday through Sunday. However, Riot has thrown us a curve-ball by establishing Monday as their new day. LCS Commissioner Chris Greeley said “This is something we’ve been looking at for more than a year. We think that having two five hour blocks of LCS for folks to sit and watch can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, so we wanted to make sure we can spread our content out a little better.”

Monday Night Football has been the marquee weekly event in sports for decades, but now Riot is making a play at establishing the same thing for esports. Greeley said, “I spent a lot of nights when I lived in New York City , sitting in a sports bar, eating wings, watching two teams I would never follow just because it was the Monday night spectacle. We want to bring a little bit of that to League.” Monday Night League will feature key match-ups from both the LCS and the LCS Academy, the minor league system for League of Legends.

Academy Rush Is Coming On Fridays

One of the main changes this year is a focus on academy play. While the LCS has grown in popularity year over year, the minor league Academy system hasn’t caught on in the same way. This year will see academy play alongside the LCS on Saturday through Monday, but it’ll also dedicate Fridays to a new show called Academy Rush.

Academy Rush is a new show akin to the NFL’s Red-Zone. Academy Rush will see casters and analysts taking viewers around the league to show off all the best moments. Commissioner Greeley gave us the run-down on what fans can expect from Academy Rush. “Give us an hour, give us two hours during Academy Rush and you can have analysts and casters walk you through the next level of talent.” This should give fans an introduction to the key players and teams in the Academy League without being too much of a time commitment.

Qualifying For Worlds Is Changing

In years past, teams have qualified for Worlds by earning points in the Spring and Summer split. The Summer Split winner was given a guaranteed spot at Worlds. Meanwhile, the second and third slot were awarded to the teams who earned the most points throughout the year. That system is being done away with in 2020.

This year, the Summer Split will be the sole determining factor on who goes to Worlds. The top 8 teams at the end of summer will be seeded into a double elimination tournament. The top 3 finishers in that tournament will earn their way to Worlds 2020. The spring split meanwhile, will be used to determine North America’s entry into the Mid-Season Invitational. This reflects Riot’s growing emphasis on MSI.

LCS Summer Playoffs Bracket
Tournament Bracket For LCS Summer Split Playoffs

Key dates

Lastly, we’ve got some key dates to remember for the upcoming spring split.

  • January 9th – Tickets for LCS spring split go on sale
  • January 25th – March 22nd – Spring split regular season
  • March 28th – April 19th – Spring split playoffs
  • April 18th-19th – Spring split finals

Needless to say, we’re pretty excited at the changes being made by Riot for the LCS this season. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of League of Legends esports, and they’re starting off right. It’ll be interesting to see if Academy Rush can spur an interest in so-called ‘minor league’ esports, something traditional sports has never figured out the formula on. Monday Night League has the potential to be big. If they can cement themselves on Monday nights like the NFL has, they’re going to be in great shape.

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