Nadeshot explains why League of Legends is declining in North America
100 Thieves founder and CEO Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag has shared his thoughts on the current state of League of Legends in North America.
Speaking on the 100 Thieves Cast, Nadeshot said that one of the biggest issues in North America is the shortage of League of Legends players coming in as the game has decreased in popularity among teenagers.
“League of Legends is just tough right now,” he said. “When you ask a 16-year-old kid [about] the first game they play when they get home from school, if you poll a hundred 16-year-olds I’d say maybe five of them are going home to play League of Legends,” Nadeshot said.
For the 100 Thieves founder, that’s the “double-edged sword” of esports titles, with their waxing and waning popularity. Things would be much different, he says, “if there was another MOBA game that is played in the United States prevalently.”
“I don’t think there’s a lot of people, or new players, coming in and trying to get better at the game,” Nadeshot said.
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His comments come after the LCS Spring 2023 Finals, held at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, had a peak viewership of 271,376 people, the lowest since Esports Charts began tracking viewership for the league, in 2017. The Spring split amassed 14.8 million hours watched, down from the 19 million hours watched during the LCS Summer 2022 split.
The discussion around the talent pipeline in North America drying up is not new, and it helps explain why there are so many imports in the LCS. In the 2023 Spring Split, only 43 percent of the players competing in the league were from North America, with South Korea having just as many players (15) as the United States, according to Liquipedia.
According to recent rumors, 100 Thieves are one of the organizations that have considered leaving the LCS. Their team is currently in the market for a new mid laner following Søren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg’s retirement, which caught Nadeshot by surprise.