MonteCristo Claims LCS Considering Relocation Out Of LA, Merger With CBLOL

Could we be seeing a major shake up in North American League of Legends?

BYBen Mock
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League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational 2023 - Brackets

Divisive caster and esports personality MonteCristo has made some bombshell claims about the state of the LCS. Speaking on the Last Free Nation podcast, the former League of Legends caster relayed some of the rumblings that he had heard coming out of Riot Games. “Even if it [league revenue] goes down, it’s quite easy to break even if you just have league minimum salaries,” he said. “If the league moves out of Los Angeles, it becomes even easier in many ways. I’m not sure it’s going to happen, so I’m not trying to put it out there saying, like, ‘This is something that is going to happen’, but those conversations have occurred at Riot. I know that factually. And why wouldn’t they? It makes logical sense. The LCS doesn’t need to be in Los Angeles.”

Furthermore, Monte said that a merger with the Brazilian CBLOL was "on the table". Riot Games' other major esport, VALORANT, operates an Amercias league that covers both North and Latin America. “My hope is that they move it fuck out of Los Angeles to decrease costs, because the more the costs are decreased around production, the more of the money that is made in revenue can go to getting better players and teams,” he continued. “If the league stays in Los Angeles, the teams are going to make the logical decision to cut money to spend on the teams themselves, on the players, on the coaches, on the infrastructure. That is what will happen. You will have worse teams."

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LCS Looking To Anchor Long-Term Viability

The LCS is in a dire spot right now. The ongoing 2023 Summer Split has had an average of 72,210 viewers according to Esports Charts. That's a 34% drop from the Spring split and a 37% drop from the 2022 Summer split. Two series remain in the current split, with NRG and Team Liquid facing off before the winner plays Cloud9 in the Grand Final. Aside from steadily decreasing viewership, orgs are suffering through an "esports winter" amid prolonged financial struggles. Seven of the league's 10 franchises dropped their academy team earlier this year.

Relocating the league's base of operations out of Los Angeles could help with the financial burden. LA is the second-most expensive city in America. It echoes plans from other organizations, such as the US government. With DC also increasingly prohibitively expensive, the US government has looked to move some government departments further west. Additionally, leaving the West Coast could help with viewership. LCS matches are currently played nine hours behind mainland Europe. Moving to the midwest, Chicago for example, would serve to cut that number to seven. Of course, as mentioned, nothing is yet confirmed. However, if Monte is hearing correctly, big changes could be coming for the ailing league.

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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.