Riot Games announced Tuesday that it’s delaying the start of the summer season for competitive North American League of Legends after players recently voted “overwhelmingly” for a walkout. The League Championship Series (LCS) summer split was set to kick off on Thursday, but the start of the season is being pushed back by two weeks.
The players, who are represented by the LCS Players Association (LCSPA), voted to walk out following Riot Games’ announcement that LCS teams wouldn’t need to field an amateur group in the North American Challengers League (NACL) starting with the summer season. In the days after, many teams said they wouldn’t field an NACL teams, with some citing the economic challenges of doing so. Players protested those decisions, as it cuts off an important development pipeline for League of Legends talent.
In a blog post, Naz Aletaha, Riot Games’ global head of League of Legends esports, said that Riot hopes the two-week delay will “give us time for productive dialogue between the LCSPA, teams, and the league and then resume LCS competition this summer.” However, Aletaha said if the season needs to be delayed further, “we would be prepared to cancel the entire LCS summer season.” If that happens, Aletaha said that the LCS wouldn’t be able to qualify for this year’s Worlds, the global tournament that serves as the high point for competitive League of Legends every year.
Aletaha also responded to a list of five demands from the LCSPA, though only committed to a single change: Riot will be giving Rally Cry, the organization it partners with on the NACL, an additional $300,000 to “jumpstart the 2023 NACL season,” which is set to begin on June 10th.
On Tuesday evening, the LCSPA shared an update on its discussions with Riot. “We met with Riot Games today to ask for daily meetings — or more, if needed — to reach a resolution,” it wrote on Twitter. “Starting tomorrow, we plan to begin discussions that result in meaningful collaborative action to get our players back to where they want to be: competing for fans on the LCS stage.” On Monday, it asked players not to step in if recruited to replace LCS players who were walking out.
Update May 30th, 10:20PM ET: Added tweet from the LCSPA.