earlier this week League of Legends Players voted to strike “overwhelmingly” over plans to make rule changes that would cut the North American Challengers League, which started just last year, from 16 teams to seven.
The LCS Players Association, the organization that represents the region’s professional players, states that the plans are for an estimated 70 people – players, coaches, etc. He says he’s going to lose his job. Meanwhile, Riot said the cuts are necessary to ensure that North American leagues remain “sustainable.” [and] economically viable”.
Tensions escalated a day later when news emerged that professional teams were actively “looking for mangy players on the field”; This was a move that the LCSPA rightly said would “put the future of all players at risk” because “crossing the line undermines player bargaining power”.
LCSPA met with Riot earlier today, and soon enough, Riot posted a lengthy statement on its site. takes the strike. It doesn’t take much reading to see if the company has decided to play hard.
A large part of the post is dedicated to telling North American players, hey, other regions can make their leagues profitable, why not. The most painful example is this line where Riot flatly denied the LCSPA’s requests for the company to “commit a revenue pool for $300,000 per NACL team annual player salaries”:
That’s definitely not sustainable – and to be brutally honest, it shouldn’t be necessary. We have other self-developed Tier 2 leagues around the world and we believe the NACL can get to that point as well.
The harshest language, however, is reserved for Riot’s comments on the league’s upcoming schedule; here the company is essentially saying that if a deal is not reached within the next two weeks, not only will the entire LCS summer season be cancelled, but the LCS as well. teams will also not qualify for the 2023 World Championship:
Hopefully, this two-week window will give us time for fruitful dialogue between the LSCPA, the teams and the league, and then continue with the LCS competition this summer. The LCS will not penalize teams for not building their roster during this two-week period to allow everyone to focus on constructive dialogue. We do our best to ensure that LCS employees, contractors and others who support LCS are not adversely affected by the delay.
Going beyond the two-week window makes running a legitimate competition nearly impossible, and in that case, we’d be prepared to cancel the entire LCS summer season. Moving this forward, if the LCS summer season is cancelled, this will also eliminate any LCS teams that qualify for the 2023 World Championship. I want to be clear: This is not an outcome we want, but unfortunately the reality of ensuring that we run a fair, competitive global system.
Most importantly, despite the length of the post and the number of points it covers, Riot does not once comment on the possibility of teams using “shellless” players. LCSPA has yet to issue its own commentary after the meeting; We have contacted them, but have not yet received a response at the time of publication.
UPDATE 23:55 ET: The LCSPA has now responded in a statement by saying:
Tonight, we’re refocused on one thing: the players are the LCS. There is no league and no esports without players. From day one, exclusion from the decision-making process prompted LCSPA players to vote to leave the game. FuThe situation for the NACL and the LCS is too big to make decisions overnight and without thinking about the players.
We met with Riot Games today for daily meetings to come to a solution or to request more if needed. Starting tomorrow, we plan to start discussions that culminate in meaningful collaborative action to get our players back to where they want to be, namely the competition for fans on the LCS stage.
We also want to thank; We are deeply grateful to the LCS community for the incredible solidarity it has shown for our players – our struggle is made possible thanks to your support.