In their debut season, the LEC has become a case study in how to effectively use content as a promotion and branding tool.
- How has the European arm of Riot Games’ competitive division fared since they gained their independence from North America?
- With brands flooding into the esports industry, the LEC has shown how popular esports leagues can capitalise with superior content.
For years, competitive League of Legends in the west was presented under the banners of the North American League Championship Series (NA LCS), and the European League Championship Series (EU LCS).
The two leagues were, for all intents and purposes, the same. On certain occasions, Riot Games did attempt to differentiate between the two - usually with a change in format - but the two leagues were visually very similar.
After the NA LCS adopted a franchise based model in 2018, it looked likely that Europe would get the same treatment down the line. These plans were confirmed ahead of the 2019 season, when Riot Games announced the League of Legends European Championship (LEC).
Since the creation of competitive League of Legends, many European fans have held the belief that the company regards the European region as an after-thought. A lack of meaningful content and “personality” compared to the North American broadcast being the main gripe.
The LEC was a chance to give European League of Legends a personality, it’s own voice.
This is what they came up with.
A rap battle between two LEC commentators, with one advocating for G2 Esports, and the other for Origen, who were set to compete in the Grand Finals.
A mid-length profile piece on one of the stars of the LEC - Luka “Perkz” Perkovic.
The continued evolution of “Mic Check”, a show highlighting the funny and intense moments in the team voiced communications during matches.
Rather than falling behind without the help of the North American league, the LEC has entered a renaissance of sorts.
Even U.S viewers have voiced their praises of the LEC content, with many believing it to be better than the NA LCS, which has historically been held in high regard in terms of content creation.
The influx of new content has even included brand partnerships with the likes of KIA Motors:
KIA are just one of many new partners, which includes the likes of: Foot Locker, Shell, and Red Bull. All of which are (or are soon to be) included within the broadcast in one way or another.
Whether it be the ‘Shell Power Play’ or Red Bull and their ‘Level Up’ campaign, the LEC has become a hot spot of activity for sponsors, and is now one of the most appealing esports broadcasts in the world for prospective brands.
In an esports climate that constantly sees new competition emerge every few months, League of Legends and the LEC have to be praised for their use of branded content to both bring sponsors aboard, and keep fans engaged.