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‘Still on the table’: MarkZ says LCS could still move to best-of-three as soon as this year Dot Esports

As the freshly revamped LCS 2024 completes its third week this weekend, commissioner Mark “MarkZ” Zimmerman has addressed fans’ thoughts and opinions on the format of the league, stating a move to best-of-threes over one or two-match series isn’t out of the question this year.

MarkZ said the LCS team is “open to exploring” changes to the LCS format in a Feb. 2 AMA, where he and other staff answered questions from the League of Legends subreddit, the LCS Discord server, and fans attending the Riot Games Arena. MarkZ pointed out that the decision to run with best-of-ones for the Spring Split was purely analytical given how many changes the LCS had endured during the off-season.

From the drop to eight teams to playing out the season on the live and current League patch, the LCS is barely recognizable compared to last year’s Summer Split in June and July. So that the league could be eased into these changes, the LCS team opted for single-match series this regular season.

Referencing the decision to push the league broadcast back by one hour, MarkZ said the best-of-one format allowed for a later start due to historical data pointing toward a boost in viewership. But, addressing the many viewers who wrote in asking about future formats, MarkZ wouldn’t entirely rule out the chance of regular-season best-of-threes returning to the league. “Moving forward, we’ll always look to what fans want, what teams want, and what we can do and fit it into the constraints we have,” he said.

It has been over five years since the LCS last ran three-match series through the regular season, switching to best-of-one for the 2018 Spring Split, and has been a topic of discussion for years since. Best-of-ones have their advantages and setbacks, most notably when it comes to shock underdog performances that would unlikely ever occur if the match was played out over three games, but with eight teams and the right broadcast setup, the longer format may be a valid choice for the LCS going forward.

One thing MarkZ seems set on is avoiding best-of-twos, who agrees the prospect of a tie is unsatisfying. “Some would enjoy it, but ending in a tie is sometimes not the most satisfying feeling especially when you’re trying to force draft adaptations,” MarkZ said. “We definitely want to be open to other formats, and there are legitimate benefits to best-of-two, but the current feeling is not best-of-two.”

The idea of a format change-up is definitely under consideration by the LCS team, but MarkZ stresses that many constraints need to be considered before the trigger can be pulled on something like best-of-three. “I don’t want to promise anything but it’s something that’s still on the table.”

Nicholas Taifalos

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