Riot Games announces NA LCS set to return January 20th as they return to Bo1 format

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Riot came out with an announcement earlier this week giving a definitive starting date to all the NA LCS action as they return to the Bo1 format with a new starting time.

Return to action

With all the drama and fervor surrounding the newly franchised teams going into the 2018 season of NA LCS, it was only a matter of time before Riot would announce when and where all the competition would be taking place. As the company gets set to enter a new era in LoL esports given all the money and infrastructure changes injected into the scene, many fans were wondering if changes to the broadcast were imminent following a grueling two years of Bo3 series.

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Over the years, the growing number of NA viewers as EU LCS viewership has stagnated has been directly linked with both broadcasts overlapping and inadvertently competing against each other on certain days. Riot has seemingly found a way to ‘patch’ that issue by only broadcasting NA LCS games on Saturday and Sunday. As of January 20th, there will be no more games played on Friday since the Bo1 format makes its return. The new start time for NA LCS was also implemented to further avoid conflicts with the EU LCS stream. The first game of the 2018 season for NA will take place at around 2:00 PM Pacific Time. That start time’s a full two hours earlier than last year in an attempt to allow viewers to watch both LCS regions adequately.

With the introduction of franchising, Riot no longer has a need for a week between Week 9 of the Spring Split and the start of playoffs. Instead of the promotion tournament taking place the week after Spring Split ends, it will just be an immediate intro to Knockout stages as the Quarter Finals would take place that following week. As of right now, Riot anticipates the season to follow suit until week 5 of the Spring Split as the following weeks will follow a flex schedule. Riot have made it clear that only the changes will be in start time of which teams plays when, all teams are guaranteed to play once per day.

Playoffs and Academy League

While the Quarter Final bracket of playoffs is anticipated to be played a week earlier than usual, Riot still plans to take a full three weeks to deliberate on the playoff process as they’re slated to finish the Finals of Spring Split around the first weekend of April. As of right now, there is no information on where those events will be taking place but Riot has assured fans and potential ticket buyers that all that pertinent information will be released at the nearest possible convenience.

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NA fans of LoL will be hard pressed to get some sort of east coast visit from the LCS veterans given their home base in Los Angeles, but any speculation on the topic at this moment is premature.

Riot has formally announced the Academy League information for the new ‘Challenger Series’ equivalent will be released later in the week.

Photo Credits: Riot Games 

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Nicolas - "NGV02" | Esports Writer and Editor - Passionate about Overwatch and League of Legends

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