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LCS may be moving to a best-of-three format, is that a good thing?

Team Liquid celebrates its victory at the LCS Spring 2024 Grand Finals

A major format change to the LCS season is reportedly coming during the 2024 Summer Split, but will a move from best-of-threes to best-of-ones be a good thing or a bad thing?

League of Legends esports puts a big emphasis on making seasonal play between each region unique. A big part of that is the varied formats between the different leagues. Though that uniqueness sets it apart from other heavily structured esports circuits like Dota 2 and the now-defunct Overwatch League, fans have grumbled when the content offering isn’t as robust as it could be.

But according to LoL esports content creator Travis Gafford, that’s set to change. He reports that the LCS will change its format in a way that could yield some extra games for fans to watch. The big question is whether this will be a good change for the league, or even for the fans.

What is the new LCS format in the 2024 Summer Split?

The LCS is reportedly going to restructure its splits to be a single round-robin cycle with best-of-three series. Through the 2024 LCS Spring Split, the league’s splits had been a double round-robin with best-of-one series.

The change has not been officially confirmed by Riot Games, LoL esports, or any of the LCS franchises, though fans have been calling for this change for some time. The pivot to best-of-three series theoretically offers the opportunity to see more League of Legends esports, as teams go from a guaranteed 14 games per split to anywhere from 14 to 21.

This approach is used by most of the top leagues in League of Legends esports including the LPL and LCK. The LCS shared the best-of-one approach with the LEC.

According to Gafford, the new format will also have a break that aligns with the Esports World Cup. The implication is that League of Legends will join games like Counter-Strike 2 and Dota 2 in being part of a larger sportswashing campaign by Saudi Arabia that involves esports, professional wrestling, and boxing. 

Will best-of-three series be better for the LCS?

It’s unclear if best-of-three series will be better for the LCS relative to the existing format built around best-of-ones

The benefit from a competitive and fan perspective is that there are likely to be more games played, which should result in a more accurate picture of each team’s strength by the end of the split. The move away from a double round-robin was a disappointment for some, as it detracts from the “arc” of each team during the split.

Though Gafford didn’t explain his concerns in the video, there are a number of potential issues. The one that was primarily alluded to was the potential impact it will have on the LCS’s viewership.

The audience of LoL esports is visibly dwindling and the LCS in particular is being put on the backburner in favor of Valorant. Part of this is the stratification of popularity between teams, with tenured organizations like Cloud9 and reigning champions Team Liquid being popular while others like Dignitas and Shopify Rebellion don’t attract as much of an audience.

Dragging out games between unpopular teams could result in viewers being chased away rather than sticking around for a more desirable game. Ultimately, the impact of the LCS going to best-of-three matches won’t be known until after it happens.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2. His work has previously been featured by Bleacher Report and The Washington Post, and he was an Assistant Editor at WIN.gg. You can follow him on Twitter / X at @srondina.

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