Riot Games is evolving its European ecosystem for competitive League of Legends by elevating four European Regional Leagues (ERLs) to the professional level.
Europe’s league operations lead Maximilian “Riot MAXtheX” Peter Schmidt revealed the news today in an article that explains the 2019 changes.
In 2018, Riot retired the semi-pro Challenger Series and created a new continent-wide system called ERLs, 13 regional leagues that provide a “skill development pipeline” for getting new talent into the League European Championship (LEC). Four of the 13 regional leagues are being bumped up to a new tier in an attempt to match the level of professionalism of the LEC.
“The Premier Tour (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), the UKLC (United Kingdom + Ireland), the LFL (France) and the Superliga Orange (Spain) will be the first Leagues to be included in this new tier, which will feature various new regulations and streamlined processes in order to ensure we are providing the best possible experience for our competitive players in Europe,” Schmidt said.
Riot prioritized these four ERLs for promotion because of the presence of local offices that will help support the transition.
To continue the success in ERLs, Riot will provide further support to players by registering them in the Global Contract Database, which will provide protection from poaching and tampering.
“This is to ensure that ERL teams have bigger incentives to scout and invest in talent themselves without running the risk of that talent getting immediately snatched away from them,” Schmidt said. “On the flip-side, we also want to ensure that players have the ability to appropriately develop their career, which is why we are limiting the time contracts are recognized in the Global Contract Database to a maximum of two years.”
ERL players seeking registry in the Global Contract Database will have to pass behavior checks and abide by professional standards.
The ERL system seems to be working for Europe’s professional teams. Schmidt attributes EU’s 2018 successes, such as Fnatic going to the finals at Worlds and Europe besting North America at Rift Rivals, to the ERL farm system that stepped up the region’s level of professional play.