The LCS is dying. That is what many are stating right now, with ex-players like Doublelift expressing their frustration with the league, and the LCS testing new features in hopes of retaining some of their viewers. So, what exactly is being done to try and stop the slow bleeding out of a once vibrant League of Legends esports scene?
The LCS was once one of the most popular regions in League of Legends, but now the LCS just seems to be dying. Sure, the play wasn't always top tier, with teams like TSM barely making it out of groups at international events, but at least the region had personality and charm which led people to tune in and watch each season again.
But, it seems that there are less and less viewers each split. Not even a rebranding, new studio nor one of the most hype intro videos ever made in esports seem to have brought in more views. Just compare the viewership to the LEC and you see how far behind the LCS is. But why is the LCS dying?
Lack of Viewership and Interest in the LCS
In a stream on July 11, former LCS pro player Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng made a bold statement. He said that "LCS is dying. The viewership is absolutely dying" which, when looking at the actual viewership numbers... he isn't wrong. But instead of thinking over what could be improved, it was decided to suspend Doublelift from co-streaming LCS games.
Doublelift had been raking in viewers for the LCS with his co-streams, bringing in guests like Sneaky and Meteos to co-stream with, garnering interest in the league once more. The suspension has landed the LCS in hot water and has only made it seem even less inviting to watch than before. Seriously, punishing one of the most infamous players for stating facts is laughable and has only caused a negative effect on the league...
No drama here just how to own the bot lane:
Bjergsen Was Blocked From Playing in a Showmatch
Earlier in July, MrBeast and Ludwig had a show match in Las Vegas, which garnered a lot of attention. Doublelift, Tyler1 and other streamers were a part of the event, but no current League of Legends player was on either team. Then, it came to light that Team Liquid mid laner and esports legend Bjergsen was going to participate...
That was until the LCS and Riot Games stepped in and blocked the pro player from participating in the event. Of course, along with the suspension to Doublelift, only more bad light has fallen onto the North American pro league.
But let's be honest, there are many more issues for the LCS than just a few bad PR scandals...
Lack of Player Development
Europe has developed a decent player development program, with each region having their own leagues. LEC teams have their own rosters of young talent in those local leagues, and they foster these players and give them an experience close to the pro-level as can be.
In Korea and China, young players get scouted and trained with the squads that have built up whole systems on how to properly foster youth esports – Just take a loot at T1's young squad and especially their top laner Zeus!
All this is missing in North America, where grassroots tournaments and teams usually don't last long and don't give players a feeling that they can make it pro. Many great players choose to go to university, play there on a team, maybe even with an esports scolarship, and get an education rather than attempt to make it as a pro player. This has also caused the quality of up-and-coming LCS players, which means the region depends on imports from Korea, China and even Europe.
Fancy New Features on Broadcast Won't Help the LCS
This weekend, the LCS is testing out some fancy new comms. The broadcast team seems to have been inspired by the Formula 1 and how they sometimes show off in-game comms right away as they happen. Usually, fans get in-game comms a while later in the mic-checks, but now we might have them in real time.
Will this help the LCS? Hardly. Sure it'll be funny to hear, especially for teams like FlyQuest that just talk over one-another and shout loudly, but it won't solve the issue of the LCS and that it is slowly dying. Only international results and exciting teams will be able to save the LCS. Oh, and alienating the people still showcasing the LCS and their fans also isn't the way to go...