LCS Players Association Calls For Strike Authorization Vote

Esports might be about to see its biggest ever collective action

BYBen Mock
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Despite hopes that 2022 would be the year of the LCS, those dreams have fallen flat. The superteams heralded as the saviors of the North American region both fell well short of that goal. The Korean superteam built by Team Liquid failed to make the Spring Split playoffs. Meanwhile, the 100 Thieves roster of veteran legends found themselves dumped out of the playoffs in the opening rounds. They suffered 3-0 and 3-2 losses to FlyQuest and Golden Guardians respectively.

However, one saving grace was the restructured North American second tier. The Academy League had been replaced by the NACL, which combined LCS farm teams with well-respected amateur outfits. Furthermore, there a promotion-relegation aspect that kept the league competitive and retained the interest of the amateur outfits. Despite the success of this league, it was overwhelmingly disliked by LCS organizations, who forced Riot Games to drop the mandatory requirement for LCS teams to field rosters in the NACL. Riot obliged and seven of the LCS' 10 teams immediately dropped their academy and amateur rosters. That decision may be about to cripple the entire pro scene in North America.

LCSPA Promises Retaliation

Phil Aram, manager of the Evil Geniuses Dota 2 esports team, watches his players practice at its home base - a house in a subdivision in Alameda, Calif. on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. (Photo By Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

The LCS Players Association viewed Riot's claims to value its developmental league as nothing more than a shallow platitude. "The reality is that as many as 70 players, coaches, and managers will lose their jobs overnight. The unprecedented decision to destroy the NACL less than a month before the start of the 2023 NACL Summer Split...is a stain on their leadership. Riot's decision to eliminate the NACL mandate was in direct contradiction of statements made to the PA by Riot leadership throughout talks earlier this year regarding future NACL changes. The LCSPA is calling on all members of the LCS and NACL community...to stand up in unison and demand for Riot to reverse this decision in order to protect the future of the LCS."

According to reporting by Mikhail Klimentov, the LCSPA has called a strike authorization vote for May 28. Every listed starter in the LCS is faced with the choice to join a work stoppage under the LCSPA banner. “If we have 26 out of 50 of the LCS player willing to do something, I can tell you right now, the league's not running,” Aram told Klimentov. With the vote taking place just three days before the start of the LCS Summer Split, teams would be scrambling to find replacement players. This wouldn't usually be a problem, except 70% of the league just got rid of their academy teams. The very thing that may cause a strike is also the thing that would help teams survive. Funny that. This is a developing story and we'll have any updates here at HotNewHipHop.

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About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.