EBL 2021 - FORMAT, CHANGES & QUALIFIERS
Get ready for the new round of epic League of Legends when Esports Balkan League returns Monday, January 25!
Let's start from the beginning, what is EBL?
The Esports Balkan League is the official League of Legends competition for the Balkan region.
The top eight teams are battling for their share of the €20,000 prize pool over two months of regular season and playoffs. Following the grand finale, the two best EBL teams begin their journey to conquer Europe.
EBL is a part of Riot's system of European Regional Leagues (ERL), each sending its best teams to the European Masters - Europe's largest LoL competition of its kind with a prize pool of €150,000. Players who step up during EU Masters often get the opportunity to play for some of the LEC teams, such as Sacre, Milica and LIMIT.
When we reflect back on the previous year, even with all the hardship that engulfed the whole world, EBL showed significant growth and reaffirmed its place as the absolute best esports competition in our region.
Our stats show over 292.374 people watched EBL at some point in 2020 (it's probably a bit more, but this is the number we can accurately measure). In total, you guys watched over 684.770 hours of content.
Our most viewed match of 2020 was Crvena Zvezda versus Šaim Se, with over 10.891 concurrent viewers, while our record breaking finals between CR4ZY and SuppUp peaked at 9.325 concurrent viewers.
League format, year-long participation
The biggest change is definitely the switch to a year-long participation. Up until this point, teams had 2 shots per year to join EBL. But this also meant teams could drop after each split, due to suboptimal performance. Starting in 2021, EBL teams won't have to worry about mid-season relegations.
This emphasises our qualifiers even more, as up-and-coming teams interested to join EBL will only have one chance each year to become one of the greats.
Our hope is that this change will provide the teams with a bit more stability and tools to close partnership deals more effectively, and on a year-long basis, while keeping EBL open to new teams and talents.
Locally Trained Representatives (LTR) rule change
Riots rulebook defined an eligible lineup as having at least 3 LTR players at all times in your starting roster, up until now.
Starting in 2021, teams will have the option to feature up to 3 non-LTR players in their starting rosters, but will also be required to have at least 3 LTR players in their 6-man roster. Basically we're looking at a 3+3 rule at all times during the split.
Restructuring the prize-pool
As far as the prize-pool goes, we'll be introducing a performance based system that will be tied to each game.
Each win in EBL will secure your team 250 € during the regular split, and the rest (6.000 €) of the 20.000 € prize-pool will be rewarded through playoffs:
- 1st place: 3.000 €
- 2nd place: 1.500 €
- 3rd place: 750 €
- 4th place: 750 €
Even if you finish the split with 0 victories, we'll still grant 500 euros as a bare minimum, so no one would be left hanging.
What we aim to accomplish is more stability for a greater number of teams. This kind of a structure would be a net positive for teams with at least 3 wins during the split, and would be most impactful for teams placed #3 through #6.
Qualifiers time. The system will remain mostly the same. We're still keeping the open qualifiers open to everyone (over 16 years old, Diamond 3 or higher in the past year). This year we will have two open qualifiers though, so teams can come in fresh and bounce back from an unlucky game or two.
Closed qualifiers will feature a mix of invited teams and top teams from our open circuit.
NAfter the group stage, we're switching over to a single elimination bracket that will directly qualify 1 team to EBL.
Open qualifiers are scheduled for December 5 & 6 at 14:00 CET (Saturday and Sunday), with at least the top 2 teams from each tournament moving on to the next phase. OQ format is single elimination Bo1, switching to Bo3 once we hit the quarterfinals stage. Third place team will serve as a back-up, in case one of the invited teams decides to bounce.
You can sign up for the Open Qualifiers starting from today!
P.S. Teams/Players are free to play both qualifier tournaments as long as you didn't qualify into the Closed Qualifier already. Once you qualify, that's it.
Important rules (complete rule book is available HERE):
- All players have to be 16 years of age or older before January 25.
- Open qualifiers are played on EU Nordic and East server.
- Each team has to have a minimum of 3 Locally Trained Representatives.
- Locally-Trained Representatives (LTR) are defined as players who have fulfilled one or more of the following criteria:
- The player has legally resided and been primarily present in the competitive area of the ERL for no less than 36 out of the last 60 months immediately prior to their participation in the first game of the applicable competition.
- The player has played the majority of applicable matches in an ERL in no less than two of the last three ERL splits immediately prior to their participation in the first game of the applicable competition. Additionally, a split will count towards the LTR requirement for a player who has been on an ERL or LEC Roster for the majority of the split, even if the player has not been actively participating in the respective ERL, as long as they have not been participating in any other ERL.
- The player has legally resided and been primarily present in the competitive area of the ERL for at least 36 months after their 13th birthday, defined as having lived 13 full years.
- Competitive region for EBL: Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Albania.
- Each team has to keep a minimum of 3 players from their final series that qualified them to proceed into the next round. Practically, if players A, B, C, D, E win the Open Qualifier, they have to feature at least players A, B and C in each of the following rounds as well as in all EBL matches.
- Each player that manages to qualify into EBL will have to prove his or her residency and sign a Player Service Agreement.
- Each player in EBL will be required to have a professional photograph in his teams jersey. Playing games without photos will not be allowed.
- Each team that is qualified into EBL will have to sign a Participation Agreement with EBL's organizers (Fortuna Esports).
- This contract is key for establishing prize-pool payouts and teams legal rights, which is why we underline the importance of having a legal entity as the team owner.
- Organizations and owners that already own a spot in EBL are forbidden from entering any stage of the qualifiers.
- If a player listed in season 7 roster decides to leave their respective team and joins the qualifiers, they will not be able to play for the same team again for a duration of 1 EBL split.
- Players promoted into EBL via the promotion tournament will not be able to join any other EBL teams for a duration of 1 EBL season.
- Teams and players that successfully qualify to EBL will not be able to sell or otherwise trade their EBL spots. If the team is unable to fulfil any of the criteria needed for joining EBL, their spot will be forfeited back to the organizers.
That's it for now guys, feel free to ask anything you wish through our social media:
To stay in touch with the league, results, schedule or the teams keep your eye our on our league's website: http://lol.balkanesports.com/