E-Sports Opinion Sport

Opinion: The League of Legends scene in North America is dying and Riot Games isn’t doing enough to save it

It is no secret that the North American League of Legends (LCS) scene has been struggling as of late.

As a business, the LCS is failing and has been for a long time, every new development only paints a more worrying picture for the financial stability and overall future of League of Legends Esports in North America.

The LCS as a region has historically been unable to meet expectations at international events despite mass amounts of funding and being classified as a ‘major region,’ the same classification as Korea and China, who win every single tournament.

But the region’s history of poor performance is just one of the many reasons that Esports as a business model and especially League of Legends Esports is failing in North America.

The signs of failure are everywhere:

  • The closure of ‘CLG’, one of the LCS’s most well-established and long-running organisations due to a lack of funds and inability to turn a profit from Esports as a business.
  • The financial struggles of ‘TSM’, another household name in LCS Esports, who have considered halting a number of their Esports operations, after a $210 million deal fell through with FTX, a crypto currency company that went bankrupt after being unveiled as a massive scam.
  • Even the Riot President of Esports, John Needham, admitted in an interview with Travis Gafford that: “On an average minute-audience basis, we’re down about ten percent from last year.”

Confirming even further that League of Legends Esports in the LCS is on a steady decline, not only financially, but also in viewership and audience support.

With all of these recent updates around the North American League of Legends scene, it is impossible to deny that the region is struggling as a business, and with a multitude of companies already struggling just to stay afloat, some even tapping out, even worse news has fallen towards LCS supporters’ ears.

All of the LCS teams/organisations have voted unanimously to request that Riot Games remove the requirement to have Academy teams, in order to unlock more “financial stability” and this was accepted by Riot.

Which means that some Academy players in North America could have their job/livelihood jeopardised out of nowhere.

Recently, Milan “Tenacity” Oleksij, a player for ‘100 Thieves’ announced that he would be leaving pro play in an interview with Travis Gafford and stated: “Riot is destroying the pipeline to LCS (pro level).”

Despite being one of the more promising prospects emerging from the LCS Academy system, he said that he would be leaving pro play to pursue content creation.

He described the contributors towards his decision: “Salaries have been going down every single year in the LCS,

“I think next year will be no exception, I think it will even get lower than it is now.”

The plummeting salaries which are no-doubt due to a lack of profitability for the organisations currently involved in the LCS, as well as a multitude of rumours ultimately played a factor in Tenacity’s decision.

In his own words: “For myself, I don’t really see an extended future in the league.”

This coming from the mouth of an up-and-coming talent from the Academy level of North American League of Legends, and one of the LCS’s most promising prospects, is a nail in the coffin for many people who still believed in the future of the region.

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