Just when fans thought North America’s premier League of Legends division was turning things around, Riot Games announced on Thursday that there would be some changes to the League Championship Series in 2023 — just not the changes many wanted to hear.
In a shift in global scheduling, the LCS will play 2023 regular season games on Thursdays and Fridays instead of the usual Saturday and Sunday slot they have had for the last several years. Fans are upset about this move to the mid-week but they are more upset by the decision to move the games to mid-day as well. The LCS will run on those days starting at 12 pm PST, in the middle of the workday.
In a detailed announcement, Riot pleaded their case by stating the decision was made off what they said was a “deep dive commissioned by Riot Games” that led to the conclusion that this new time slot would actually be beneficial to the league at large. The move also comes with the renaming of the LCS Arena to the Riot Games Arena which has been done to accommodate the VALORANT Champions Tour making its 2023 season debut at the Los Angeles studio as part of the VCT Americas league which has actually taken the Saturday and Sunday slot that the LCS once had.
Shuffling the schedule around like this feels like treating the symptoms, not the illness. https://t.co/niumSn0znh
— Erik DoA Lonnquist (@ggDoA) December 16, 2022
With the matches being played in the middle of the day during the work week when it’s hardest to tune into games, fans think that viewership will plummet. Many people have taken to social media to voice their frustrations with these decisions claiming that the LCS is now heading into a downward spiral that will eventually mark the death of professional League of Legends in NA.
Others are not that much doom and gloom but understand that while the change could prove that Riot’s analysis is correct, it could also just be the death kneel that many have predicted the LCS to have for years.
LCS moving to weekdays is scary.
It’s a change I raised a ton of concerns about internally, & it’s one that makes me worried for the future of the league that I love, and for my career as an LCS caster.
I was left with a lot of questions about what will happen to the LCS next..
— Isaac CB (@AzaelOfficial) December 16, 2022
According to Esports Charts, the LCS has the lowest viewership among the four major regions and has been on a decline since the league was formed back in 2013. The 2022 LCS summer split was the worst LCS split ever in terms of average viewership despite many people talking positively about the improvements to the official broadcast. The 2023 LCS spring split kicks off on Thursday, January 26 at noon PST.