Riot responds to LCSPA demands, delays the LCS start

Riot responds to LCSPA demands, delays the LCS start

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch


31st May 2023 09:56

In a significant update on the unfolding dispute between Riot Games' LCS (League of Legends Championship Series) and the LCSPA (League of Legends Championship Series Player Association), Naz Aletaha, Global Head of League of Legends Esports, has issued a response in a recent blog post to the looming player walkout.

The conflict arose when the LCS decided to lift the requirement for its franchises to field North American Challenger Series (NACL) teams, potentially leading to a substantial loss of jobs and disruption in the nurturing of local talent.

Amidst these rising tensions, the start of the LCS season has been postponed by two weeks and the LCS has made another $300,000 available to each LCS franchise in this transitionary period.

In the case of further delays, not only the LCS summer season but the participation of North American teams at the World Championship might be cancelled. 

LCS reaction to the looming walkout

Aletaha's blog post reveals that the LCS has taken several steps to address the LCSPA's concerns. These include committing an additional $300,000 in revenue share to teams maintaining an NACL team, and acknowledging the need for working closely with "relevant parties", including the LCSPA.

This commitment to open dialogue is underscored by a recent tweet from the LCSPA confirming that active discussions with Riot are underway.

However, according to Aletaha, there are limits to these concessions. The LCS season can only be delayed by a maximum of two weeks before the risk of competition cancellation becomes unavoidable, per the blog post. In cases of the Summer Split having to be cancelled entirely, it would almost eliminate North American teams from participation at the World Championship.

LCS comments on LCSPA

In response to the LCSPA's proposal of adopting a promotion and relegation model similar to the VALORANT model in the VCT, Aletaha explained that such a system would be "not a good idea at this time" as it could dilute the equity of LCS slot owners and place an additional economic strain on LCS franchises.

The LCSPA's request for guaranteed LCS minimum contracts for NACL winners was also rejected. Aletaha reiterated, "Players should rise to the LCS based on merit, potential, and team fit rather than an artificially forced mechanism."

On the topic of NACL teams retaining ownership of their slots, if they keep at least three members from the prior season, Aletaha posited that teams provide "greater continuity and structure".

While the LCSPA's demand for an additional $300,000 was met for the upcoming season, Aletaha suggests that this financial aid is only transitional. This supplemental funding should not be necessary for the future as other regions have successfully monetized their second-tier divisions.

With negotiations between the LCS and the LCSPA still in progress, the fate of North American League of Legends remains uncertain. GGRecon will update you on this ongoing story.

Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch is a Senior Esports Journalist at GGRecon. He's been creating content in esports for over 10 years, starting with Warcraft 3.

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