League of Legends eSports | LoL Leagues & Major Events
LoL Regional Leagues system looks like a masterpiece of a 16th century artist: amazing but extremely hard to understand. Let’s look at League of Legends regional leagues creation chronology and try to make a short profile for best leagues that send the representatives to the main tournament of the year – LoL World Championship.
League of Legends leagues chronology
The first Leagues started to appear after LoL Worlds Season 1 in Sweden. Two regional leagues were created in 2012: Campeonato Brasileiro de League of Legends (CBLoL) or simply Brazilian Championship of LoL was estbalised in Sao Paulo and League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) was created in Seoul.
The Brazilian Regional League was established by Riot Games Brazil not long after the launch of Brazilian League of Legends server. The first season winner was vTi Ignis.
South Korea LoL League was formerly named League of Legends Champions, but after a major restructuring in 2014 it got a modern name with brand shortening to LCK. Since the start, the league holds two seasons a year – Spring and Summer. The first two LCK winners in 2012 were MiG Blaze at Spring Season and Azubu Frost at Summer Season.
After the success of the first two LoL Regional Leagues, Riot Games took a direction on creating its leagues all around the world, spreading the eSports with a lightning speed. In 2013, the most significant regional leagues were established: League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), League of Legends European Championship (LEC), League of Legends Pro League (LPL).
LCS started in North America with a brand name NA LCS. At start, it had 8 teams but in 2015 their quantity was extended to 10. With rare exceptions, all games of LCS are played in Los Angeles, California. Same as LCK, the league holds two seasons per year. The first winners are: Team SoloMid – Spring, Cloud9 – Summer.
LEC previously known as the European League of Legends Championship Series (EU LCS) is based in Berlin. Since 2015, the league features 10 teams who compete in two seasons per year. In 2013, Fnatic took both seasons’ trophies.
LPL or fully League of Legends Pro League started with 2013 Spring and Summer Seasons, the winners were Oh My God and Positive Energy respectfully. Since 2014, Riot Games provides English broadcast of all LPL matches, however, the official League’s owner is Tencent.
After the overwhelming success in Korea and China, Riot Games created League of Legends Japan League (LJL). At the start the league had Winter, Spring, and Summer seasons with the Grand Final in Fall. The 2014 LJL Grand Final winner was DetonatioN FocusMe. Since 2016, the league switched to common two-season schedule.
It is the year of Oceanic Pro League (OPL) and Turkish Championship League (TCL) foundation. OPL was announced on February 2015, the first two seasons winner is Chiefs Esports Club. The first events under the TCL logo were played in late-2013, early 2014. However, the league has come to official rates only in 2015 with the addition of such giants as Beşiktaş Esports and 1907 Fenerbahçe.
In this year, Riot Games Russia has established The League of Legends Continental League (LCL). It replaced SLTV StarSeries by StarLadder that has been held for 2014-2015. LCL has 8 teams who compete according to general Spring-Summer schedule. The first winners were Hard Random and Albus Nox Luna. However, then such giants as Virtus.pro, Unicorns of Love and Gambit Esports have taken the domination over the league.
The year of Vietnam Championship Series (VCS) establishment. From 2013 till 2017, Vietnam regional LoL League was powered only by Garena and had a name of Garena Premier League (GPL). However, in 2018 Garena and Riot Games decided to combine their efforts and create a common league under Riot Game eSports hierarchy. The first champions of VCS are EVOS Esports and Phong Vũ Buffalo.
The professional eSports has finally come to Latin America. The newly created league bases in Mexico City. League official name: Liga Latinoamérica (LLA). The first winner is Isurus.
In 2020 Riot Games, together with FunPlus Esports and Garena created an online league - Pacific Championship Series (PCS) for Taiwan, Hong Kong and SEA. The first winner is Talon Esports from Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, in 2020 all LAN and Major League of Legends event have moved to online. Its nice to spectate how the teams adjust to the new environment. However, we hope that the situation will get better as soon as possible and we will go see LoL World 2021 live in Berlin, Los Angeles, Paris or other League of Legends world center. For now, check the League of Legends major events calendar.
The biggest LoL Leagues
League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) is North America regional league organized by Riot Games in 2013. The League unites top LoL teams from USA and Canada. Each year of LCS consists of Spring and Summer seasons. According to the season results, 3 best teams of summer playoffs represent LCS at the biggest event of the year – LoL World Cup.
Although a team from LCS has never won LoL Worlds, the regional league could boast of having several world-level teams like the first season winner Team SoloMid (TSM), that has already collected 6 LCS titles. The most recent winner, Cloud9, and such giant of eSports industry as Team Liquid. There are also new prospects in LoL like Evil Geniuses and 100Thieves who show rapid progress and may soon catch the bests.
LCS has wide audience in one of the most attractive regions for the sponsors. Therefore, the league has such sponsors as Acer, Coca-Cola, and American Express. LCS is primarily broadcasted on Twitch and YouTube where the league has millions of followers and subscribers. Nevertheless, Riot Games is making a continuous effort to show the league to as many viewers as possible. Nowadays, LCS is non-exclusively broadcasted on ESPN+.
League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) is one of the first league, established by Riot Games and KeSPA. LCK is the primary league in South Korea since 2012. It is considered as the strongest League of Legends regional competition. No doubts, as the league representatives have won LoL Worlds 5 times. Such teams as SK Telecom T1 and Samsung Galaxy have been forever immortalized in the history of League of Legends World Championship.
Nowadays, LCK has 3 representatives at LoL Worlds. Two of them advance straight to the main event, while one has to come through the Play-ins. LCK best ever team is SK Telecom T1, which is now renamed to T1 esports. They have collected 9 South Korea league titles. Moreover, T1 could boast of winning 3 Summoner’s Cups. Other great active LCK teams are: Gen.G, Griffin, KT Rolster and DragonX.
LCK currently has 10 teams which compete in each season. The league is broadcasted in different languages on Twitch and YouTube. However, the main boost LCK got by television broadcasts, after-match analytics studios, player interviews and special reports. The league sponsors are Republic of Gamers, Logitech, SK Telecom and others.
League of Legends Pro League (LPL) is primary league in China, which is owned by Tencent. The league was established in 2013. Three best LPL teams get an invite to annual LoL Worlds event. The league’s representatives have won two the most recent World Championships outplaying European teams in the Grand Finale. Invictus Gaming has bested Fnatic 3-0 in 2018, while FunPlus Phoniex (with some Korea players) defeated G2 Esports 3-0 in 2019 Paris Final.
Apart from IG and FPP, China region has Top Esports, JD Gaming, RNGU, Bilibili Gaming and Edward Gaming teams who are showing a top-level performance. Since 2014 the league is broadcasted in English language as well as Chinese. LPL is gathering a huge fan base in China. The league is sponsored by Gigabyte, Intel, Logitech, etc.
League of Legends European Championship (LEC) was created in 2013 for European region by Riot Games. LEC annually sends 3 best teams to League of Legends World Championship. However, the irony is that the only European team which won LoL Worlds did it two years before LEC was established. The league bases in Berlin, Germany. However, there are lots of other fascinating arenas like the ones in Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Malmo.
Since its creation, the league has been dominated by two teams – Fnatic and G2 Esports. Both Swedes and French have won 7 LEC titles each. Moreover, the only team who broke Sweden/French reigning was Alliance in Summer 2014. Although LEC is on 3-4th place in terms of league power after China and South Korea regions, the European league has done much progress in recent years. Two recent World Cup Grand Finals with Fnatic and G2 fighting for the Summoner’s Cup only proves that. LEC has lots of up and coming teams from all over the Europe: MAD Lions (Spain), Rogue (US/Europe), Origen (Denmark/Spain), Schalke 04 (Germany), etc.
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