Players in the LCS, North America's professional League of Legends league, went on strike on May 28. The LCSPA, the union that represents the league's players, called the strike over changes to the second tier of the region's esports scene. In a statement released May 30, Global Head of League of Legends Esports Naz Aletaha announced that Riot had chosen to delay the start of the LCS Summer split by two weeks. "We ultimately decided that it would not hold true to our values that Riot’s esports offers our players and fans a showcase for the best competitive League of Legends. Nothing but putting the best players in North America on the stage at Riot Games Arena is acceptable. So we informed LCSPA leadership today that we will delay the LCS season for the next two weeks."
The delay came as a result of Riot Games and the 10 LCS organizations being unable to source high-quality replacement players. Despite removing many of the requirements for LCS eligibility, much of the amateur and semi-pro scene stood with the players. Riot threatened to cancel it entirely if a deal could not be reached with the union. Canceling the split would have prevented North American teams from participating in the 2023 World Championships. The end of the two-week delay, June 15, was set as a hard deadline for negotiations.
Riot Games And LCSPA Reach Agreement
In a statement released June 9, the LCS announced that a deal had been reached with the Players' Association. "Following a two-week delay, the LCS will move forward with a reformatted Summer Split regular season that will take place over 6 weeks starting on June 14. LCS matches this Summer will now be played on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays," the statement began. Furthermore, the post outlined the changes to the NACL that would be implemented as a result of the agreement. These changes were headlined by reformatting, better governance, mandatory minimums for severance notification, and healthcare for international players. However, LCS organizations will still not be required to carry an academy team or participate in the NACL.
The LCSPA also released a statement, saying the agreement "proves the importance of giving players a seat at the table." However, the LCSPA vowed to keep fighting. "The concessions [below] do not restore the NACL fully, nor do they provide restoration for the players who lost jobs suddenly and incurred financial hardship, lost visas, or broken leases. The LCSPA is committed to continuing our pursuit of any and all potential paths toward making these players more whole." Away from these promises, the league is now set to return on June 9, beginning a compact, three-a-week play schedule. Follow all the biggest stories in esports here at HotNewHipHop