LCS players reportedly voting on walkout over NACL changes

Declan Mclaughlin
LCS studio Spring 2023

LCS players will reportedly vote on whether to stage a walkout to protest the recent changes the league and its franchise teams made to the North American Challengers League.

On May 12, Riot Games announced that it would bend to the will of the LCS teams after all 10 franchises reportedly voted to remove a rule requiring them to field rosters in the NACL.

Since then, seven LCS teams announced in the subsequent days that they would be dropping their NACL teams and releasing their players and staff members.

The LCSPA has been outspoken about how the decision will negatively impact the growth of the region and the league, as well as leave many players and coaches suddenly out of a job.

LCS players voting on potential strike

League of Legends Championship Series players might become the first competitors to hold a strike in modern esports history this weekend. According to a report on ReaderGrev from Mikhail Klimentov, the LCS Players Association is hosting a vote on Sunday for a potential walkout on league activities.

The vote comes after over a week of criticism thrown at the LCS and its teams over the decision to remove the requirement to field the development teams.

The executive council of the LCSPA, which consists of four active LCS players and North American veteran Darshan ‘Darshan’ Upadhyaya, voted to authorize a vote among members to ask if they would partake in a walkout, according to the report.

The executive director of the LCSPA, Phillip Aram, has been open about how the decision to gut the NACL was not approved by the association and was done without advanced notice.

Aram teased the idea of some kind of collective action that could come from the players on May 18.

“Our board and I will advise and recommend collective actions for the players to take. Player leadership and rank-and-file members will meet to align on those actions. The PA will inform the public of any plans prior to the Summer Split,” he said.

In response to the report, the LCSPA Twitter account posted five asks it has for Riot ahead of the planned vote. Those asks include a “Valorant style” promotion and relegation between LCS and NACL, a commitment to a revenue pool for each NACL team and for Riot to allow LCS organizations to partner with affiliates for cost-sharing. The association also asked Riot to guarantee LCS minimum contracts the following year for the players who win the LCS summer finals every year and for a new rule that would allow players released from NACL rosters priority on maintaining their slots in the next season if 3/5 of the team wants to continue to compete together.

This news comes in the wake of CLG closing up shop, and giving its LCS spot to NRG Esports, and TSM announcing its intention to leave the league for another region. The LCS Summer Split is set to start on June 1.

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