While the two most successful League of Legends regions internationally employ best-of-three formats, it does not look like the format is coming to Europe’s top league anytime soon.
LEC commissioner Maximilian Peter Schmidt said it is “highly unlikely” the league will move to a best-of-two or best-of-three format because the “general perception around our format is very positive.” The LEC, like North America’s LCS, plays best-of-one matches during the regular season.
At this point a change to Bo2s/Bo3s for the #LEC Is highly unlikely as the general perception around our format is very positive and we are currently literally doubling our viewership KPIs after coming off of a very strong inaugural season which I am incredibly grateful for.
— Maximilian Peter Schmidt (@RiotMAXtheX) July 5, 2020
In a Twitter thread regarding the format topic, Schmidt said he is not “fundamentally opposed” to another format and that if the viewers wanted either best-of-two or best-of-three matches, he would consider it. He did say, however, that while the other formats more accurately determine the better team, they require more of a time commitment from the viewer, make scheduling more difficult, and allow fewer chances of an upset.
He also said the LEC is doubling its viewership key performance indicators (KPI), which is a reason the league would not want to change its format.
The best-of-three format would impact the amount of time needed for broadcasts. Some broadcasts could be extended to a three-day weekend or feature all the games crunched in infeasible hours. Viewership would also likely suffer dramatically if two less popular teams played. While the matches of top teams will inherently bring more viewership, those teams that did not invest into branding may go unnoticed and drive away viewers from the stream, as shown by LPL and LCK bottom-tier teams having less viewership on average.
The LCK and LPL have also shifted games across the entire week, while the LCS and LEC have historically tried to keep all games into the weekend. LCS introduced Monday Night League similar to traditional sports, but it was widely unsuccessful. If the recently announced Friday Night League proves to be successful, then Riot could look into adjusting their schedule around a three day weekend.
The EU LCS, which was rebranded to the LEC before the 2019 season, previously used best-of-two and best-of-three formats. For one split, the 2016 Summer Split, the EU LCS teams played in best-of-two matches. The league shifted to a best-of-three format for the next split, but that only lasted for one season before moving back to best-of-ones.
The Chinese LPL and Korean LCK both have best-of-three regular season matchups. Historically, the two leagues are the most successful in international competitions, with an LCK team winning the World Championship five times and the LPL winning it the last two years.