As two of the oldest esports leagues in the world, League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) and the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) provide gaming fans with plenty of viewing opportunities. The LCK has been going strong since 2012, with the most recent summer split logging peak viewership of more than 1.5 million. Chinese LPL is another content-heavy option for League of Legends fans, with 17 teams vying for a share of the prize pool and a spot in the Mid-Season Invitational. Both leagues follow a similar format, with the LPL following the LCK’s lead when it comes to tournament format.
What Does the Current LCK Format Look Like?
It’s no surprise that the LCK has evolved a little over the years. However, this top-tier esports league seems to have finally embraced a season format that works for teams and ensures audiences don’t have to make any compromises when selecting their viewing options. LCK coverage is readily available outside of South Korea, with platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and HuyaTV broadcasting coverage to countries including the USA, China, France, Vietnam, and Japan.
LCK Spring Split Coverage
LCK coverage kicks off in January with the spring split, which runs for around two months. Esports audiences have plenty of content to sink their teeth into. Once the spring split comes to an end, it’s time for the spring playoffs to commence. Some pretty major changes have been made here. As of 2023, the model for the spring playoffs will be double-elimination. While the single-elimination format used up until now had its fans, this update does make things a little more interesting.
To secure a place in the playoffs, competing teams will first need to participate in the LCK group stage. A double round-robin format is used here, with every team having to compete in 18 matches. Teams who place in the top six will make it through to the playoff stages. Meanwhile, those who secure a first or second-place finish will automatically earn a spot at the Mid-Season Invitational.
LCK Summer Split Essential Viewing
Esports fans don’t have to wait long to see their favorite LCK rosters back in action. Come June, the LCK summer split gets underway. The format is largely identical to the sprint split. Once again, 10 teams are brought together to do battle, with a double round-robin group stage determining who will progress to the playoffs.
While the winners and runners-up of the group stage get a fast track to the playoffs, everyone else will need to face a single-elimination round. Here, the two worst-performing teams will be eliminated. A second round is then held,
with a double-elimination and best-of-five format. The ultimate winners will secure a spot at the League of Legends World Championship, as will the roster that’s amassed the biggest haul of championship points.
It’s not all bad news for the rest, however. The four best teams placed below the two that qualified for Worlds will fight it out in the LCK regional finals. At the end of these regional final matchups, the best two teams will also earn a place at Worlds.
What About the LPL?
With considerably more teams than every other LoL league, you can look forward to a packed schedule of nail-biting action once the LPL season gets going. Viewers based in China can access live broadcasts via Huya, while those based further afield can head to the Riot Games website instead. If you prefer interacting with other fans, you should also think about checking out the LPL Twitch channel.
What To Expect From the LPL Spring Split
As with the LCK spring season, the LPL kicks off with a group stage. All competing teams come together to do battle in a single round-robin tournament. The 10 best teams then progress to the playoff stage, while the two top-ranked teams are fast-tracked to the semi-finals.
The playoff stage of the spring split is a two-pronged affair. The two best teams from the group stage can rest easy until the second stage of the playoffs, but the remaining eight have to endure a King-of-the-Hill elimination bracket. Those teams that emerge victorious in either bracket can then join the other two in the next playoff stage. A double-elimination bracket is brought in here. When the playoffs are done and dusted, the winners and runners-up of the spring split are awarded invites to the Mid-Season Invitational.
Watch Things Heat Up at the LPL Summer Split
All 17 teams from the spring split return for the summer edition of the LPL. Things get going with a single round-robin group stage, with the 10 best teams going forward to the playoffs. As with the spring season, the summer playoffs are divided into two phases. The first three rounds are single-elimination brackets see eight teams from the group stage fight it out until only one squad remains standing in each bracket. These teams then join the winners and runners-up from the group stage for the final stages of the summer split.
The second phase of the summer playoffs uses a best-of-five format and double-elimination bracket to whittle down the remaining teams to just one winner. The victors are then rewarded with instant qualification for the League of Legends World Championship. The LPL regional finals will then decide which teams will represent the LPL at the World Championship.
Worried you won’t be able to remember all of that? These Asian leagues offer some of the best esports action around, so don’t dismiss them just yet. If you have a hard time remembering match dates and event information, find the latest LoL LPL schedule here.