Riot Games has finally responded to the LCS player walkout by postponing the upcoming LCS Summer Split - and may indeed cancel it entirely.
Riot Games threatens to cancel LCS Summer Split 2023
Following a successful vote from the LCS Player Association (LCSPA), players from across the LCS threatened to stage a walkout in protest of a recent rule change concerning the NACL. Following this rule change, Riot Games no longer requires LCS organisations to field teams in the NACL. As a result, a number of organisations pulled out of the league, resulting in a number of job losses across both team rosters and staff members.
The LCSPA described the move as a "significant breach of trust," and held a vote to see if players were willing to stage a walkout in protest of the decision - which passed "overwhelmingly" on May 29. Following the vote, members of the LCSPA declared that they would stage a walkout on July 1 - the first day of the Summer Split.
And while Riot Games initially seemed insistent on the Split going ahead on time, allowing LCS teams to make emergency signings so that they would be able to compete, it seems that they have changed track.
In a statement released on May 31, Riot Games announced that they would be delaying the start of the LCS season for two weeks, to ensure that they "live up to the quality we’ve promised to fans."
However, Riot Games did raise the possibility that, should they prove unable to reach an understanding with the protesting LCSPA players, the Summer Split may not go ahead at all.
"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,"said Riot. "Carrying this forward, if the LCS summer season is canceled, this will also eliminate LCS teams qualifying for 2023 Worlds. I want to be clear: That is not an outcome we’d want, but it’s unfortunately the reality of ensuring we run a fair, competitive global system."
In response, the LCSPA issued a statement of their own, stating that “the future of NACL and the LCS is too big to decide overnight and without player consideration.
“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.”
The LCS Summer Split has now been delayed under unprecedented circumstances - and there still exists the very real possibility that it won't go ahead at all. Whatever happens, we'll be keeping you up to date every step of the way. And while the LCS may or may not be taking the stage, you can still watch League of Legends live via our League of Legends match schedule - just make sure to claim your free 100% bonus before jumping in!