Riot responds to LCS walkout with 2023 Summer Split delay and possible cancellation

Melissa Andres/Riot Games

Riot has broken its silence amid the LCS walkout, delaying the 2023 Summer Split for two weeks, while threatening a full season cancellation if parties can’t meet in the middle. 

After weeks of threats, the LCS Player Association has made good on its word and has staged a walkout of the upcoming 2023 LCS Summer Split. The walkout came in protest of the changes made to the NACL, leaving players’ futures up in the air. 

Throughout the entire ordeal of orgs dropping their academy rosters, Riot has stayed radio silent. That is until the walkout threatened to cancel the split. And now, Riot has officially responded

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Riot has announced it is delaying the 2023 LCS Summer Split for two weeks rather than starting this weekend. Their reasoning is to make sure they can “live up to the quality” that watching the LCS provides. 

Riot postpones 2023 LCS Summer Split for two weeks amid strike

“We ultimately decided that it would not hold true to our values that Riot’s esports offers our players and fans a showcase for the best competitive League of Legends,” the response reads. 

“Nothing but putting the best players in North America on the stage at Riot Games Arena is acceptable. So we informed LCSPA leadership today that we will delay the LCS season for the next two weeks.”

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They further state that the two-week delay would give them time to have a “productive dialogue” with the LCSPA.

Riot also assures that no team will be penalized for not fielding their rosters during the two-week period as to allow for orgs to negotiate with the players. 

Riot threatens season cancelation and zero LCS representation at World 2023

However, despite Riot giving themselves and the LCSPA some time to talk, they also stressed that if no agreements can be made during the two-week window, they are prepared to cancel the Summer Split entirely.

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Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Evil Geniuses was one of three LCS representatives at Worlds 2022

“Delaying beyond the two-week window would make it nearly impossible to run a legitimate competition, and in that case, we would be prepared to cancel the entire LCS summer season,” they wrote. 

Riot further added that if the LCS Summer Split is canceled, this will also eliminate all LCS teams from qualifying for Worlds this year. The Summer Split determines which three NA teams will represent the LCS at Worlds 2023, with the fourth place being put into a Wildcard Qualifier. 

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However, Riot stated, “That is not an outcome we’d want, but it’s unfortunately the reality of ensuring we run a fair, competitive global system.” 

Riot shuts down all of LCSPA’s demands proposed amid player walkout

When the LCSPA voted to walkout of the LCS, they brought up a list of five asks from Riot. The asks were: 

  • Institute ‘Valorant style’ promotion and relegation between the LCS and NACL.
  • Allow LCS orgs to partner with affiliates for cost-sharing.
  • Riot commits to a revenue pool for player salaries of $300,000 per NACL team per year.
  • Institute a 3/5 roster continuity rule to provide players on released NACL rosters first priority in maintaining their slots in the upcoming NACL season if a majority continue to compete together.
  • Riot guarantees LCS minimum contracts for the following year for the five players who win the LCS summer finals each year.

However, Riot has completely shut down every single demand which was made by the LCSPA. 

Riot Games
When the VCT was created, the ascension system was instituted for teams to qualify for the league

On the first issue in particular, Riot claimed that adding a Valorant-style visitor system would “dilute” each team’s equity and revenues, as every single org has paid millions for them. 

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And various other demands from the LCSPA have also been shut down, such as the revenue pool, 3/5 roster continuity for the NACL, and LCS minimum contracts for the players who win the NACL Summer Finals. 

LCS Players Association responds to Riot

A few hours after Riot broke its silence and issued a lengthy statement, the LCSPA followed-up with one final message for the community on May 30.

“The future of NACL and the LCS is too big to decide overnight and without player consideration,” the latest statement read.

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“We met with Riot Games today to ask for daily meetings – or more, if needed – to reach a resolution. Starting tomorrow, we plan to begin discussions that result in meaningful, collaborative action to get our players back where they want to be: competing for fans on the LCS stage.”

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