Crisis averted after operator LVP’s surprise withdrawal.
DreamHack is expanding its League of Legends activities to the UK. The tournament organizer is taking over the United Kingdom's official league UKLC. The competition had been without an operator since Liga de Videojuegos Profesional (LVP) withdrew last month.
Surprise pull out
LVP is the company behind the Spanish SuperLiga Orange. This hugely popular circuit supports full-time salaries and draws talent from surrounding countries. As such, expectations were high when it took over ESL's long-time running of UK League of Legends last year.
And while, in its inaugural year, it did achieve viewer growth, the league also suffered from formatting problems. Specifically, the 2019 season introduced the so-called "tower" format. This setup saw eight teams fight through a weekly, single-elimination bracket. The winner of this would then face the previous week's champion in a finals match.
While entertaining, the tower had a strong reliance on bracket draw. Some teams would play many more matches than others. For this reason, LVP had already announced changes coming to the 2020 season in a September debrief.
Because of this, the November news that it would cease its UK operations altogether came as a surprise. The company had previous signed a three-year partnership to operate the league with developer Riot Games.
Since former operator ESL is also considering leaving the country, this left the question what would happen to the league. The DreamHack announcement now brings clarity.
DreamHack has previous League of Legends experience, as it also operates the game’s Nordic Championship. The UKLC will adopt this league’s format, with eight teams facing off in a double best-of-one, round-robin setting.
New for the UK, which previous worked with a revenue sharing model, the competition will have a prize pool instead. Fnatic Rising and Excel UK have been confirmed as the first two competitors.
It was important for Riot Games that the UK league would find a new home. One of the main reasons why Europe's LEC is in better shape than the North American LCS internationally, is its focus on local initiatives to develop talent. In the UK, where the game is also competing with all other English-language esports broadcasts, local heroes are doubly important for growth.
Now, with a format more in line with international play and an experienced organizer like DreamHack at the wheel, UK League of Legends’ future is looking bright once more.
Image via LVP