Riot has discussed moving LCS away from Los Angeles, MonteCristo claims

Luís Mira

Riot Games has entertained the thought of moving the LCS to a new location, according to content creator Christopher ‘MonteCristo’ Mykles.

The future of the LCS remains a burning question amid declining viewership and rumors that more teams than just TSM are considering selling their spots in the league.

LCS Summer 2023 is averaging 72,710 viewers, down 37% from last year’s Summer split, according to data firm Esports Charts. The potential loss, or reduction, of sponsorship deals because of this sharp drop in viewership would impact the revenue generated by the league, which is shared with all ten teams.

This would come at a particularly bad time for the LCS organizations, many of which are already in a tough financial situation amid what has been referred to as the “esports winter”.

Speaking on the latest episode of ‘Last Free Nation’, former analyst MonteCristo said that Riot Games has considered the possibility of moving the LCS away from Los Angeles, one of the most expensive cities in the United States.

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“Even if [league revenue] goes down, it’s quite easy to break even if you just have league minimum salaries,” he said. “If the league moves out of Los Angeles, it becomes even easier in many ways.

“I’m not sure it’s going to happen, so I’m not trying to put it out there saying, like, ‘This is something that is going to happen’, but those conversations have occurred at Riot. I know that factually.

“And why wouldn’t they? It makes logical sense. The LCS doesn’t need to be in Los Angeles.”

MonteCristo went on to say that a combination of the LCS and CBLOL would be “a point of conversation on the table”. Many believe, using Valorant’s VCT Americas League (which also includes teams from Latin America) as an example, that a merger of the two leagues would fuel regional rivalries and drive up interest in North American League of Legends.

“I think a lot of the teams in the league are probably pressuring Riot to get out of California and set up a different kind of arrangement that is going to be cheaper,” MonteCristo said.

“And then they’ll just run budget rosters and wait until sponsorship returns. As I understand it, the teams are very much suffering, not only from venture capital, but in terms of sponsors right now.”

Moving the LCS would benefit the league

With many North American organizations struggling to balance their books, MonteCristo said that, if the LCS is moved to a less expensive area, teams would be able to spend some of the money that they would save on fielding more competitive rosters.

“My hope is that they move it f**k out of Los Angeles to decrease costs, because the more the costs are decreased around production, the more of the money that is made in revenue can go to getting better players and teams,” he argued.

“If the league stays in Los Angeles, the teams are going to make the logical decision to cut money to spend on the teams themselves, on the players, on the coaches, on the infrastructure. That is what will happen. You will have worse teams.

“The best scenario is that they move it somewhere else, decrease costs, try to get some new sponsors as the advertising market opens up. And hopefully, the teams get new sponsors so they can have better teams.”

The 2023 LCS Summer Split is entering the Championship Weekend, with Cloud9, NRG and Team Liquid still vying for the trophy. The decisive stages will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.