The LCS (League of Legends Championship Series) is set to return for its 11th year in January 2023. The LCS is North America’s professional League of Legends league and is one of four major regions to compete internationally. Behind Korea’s LCK, Europe’s LEC, and China’s LPL, the LCS is the fourth strongest league in the world, rounding out the upper echelon of the various competitive leagues across the globe.
Following the conclusion of the World Championship, the largest international League of Legends event of the year, rumors began to swirl around the community about the status of the LCS in 2023. While it is true there has been a steady decline in viewership over the past few years, Riot Games are actively trying to “save” the league through improvements in scheduling based on viewership metrics.
LCS and VCT Collaboration
Since its release in 2020, Riot’s tactical shooter VALORANT has taken the world by storm. Consequently, the professional VALORANT scene has grown tremendously, bringing in massive viewership and warranting further expansion. As a result, Riot created three franchising leagues across the major regions of the world to help draw more viewer attention, with thirty recognized teams to support.
Like the LCS, VCT Americas League—the North/Latin American franchising league—is based in Los Angeles, California. To consolidate resources and promote viewership overlap between the two games, Riot has announced that the VCT Americas League will share the LCS Arena with the LCS when it kicks off its inaugural season in 2023.
The LCS Arena will be renamed the Riot Games Arena to promote a more cooperative and inclusive environment between the two games. To boost publicity for the arena name change as well as the upcoming League of Legends season, LoL Esports is hosting the Global Kickoff Event, Riot’s latest international League of Legends event. Stay tuned for more information about the event.
Major Schedule Changes in 2023
Over the past few years the LCS has had a consistent time slot on Saturdays and Sundays. Each weekend, the LCS would stream the week’s 20 games as their target demographic, a growing age group since 2013, had the most retention and viewership on these days. Occasionally, on extended weekends known as “superweeks”—weeks that featured 30 games—the LCS would also stream on Fridays; however, these weeks were very infrequent.
Despite their relative scarcity, the data from these days has been very important in Riot’s decision making regarding the 2023 LCS season. Accommodating VCT Americas and new data, the LCS will officially be moving both its time slot and start times in 2023. Previously, the LCS started at 4:30 PM EST on Saturdays and 3:30 PM EST on Sundays. Next year, the LCS will take place on Thursday and Friday at 3:00PM EST.
This change has received mixed, but predominantly negative reactions from the community. Long-time viewers have expressed their concerns with their inability to watch the LCS due to it now taking place on weekdays. This, in combination with the earlier start times, has made viewing the league very difficult for one of its long-time viewers who now work full-time jobs.
These dedicated fans are not the only ones concerned about the new start times. Casters and behind-the-scenes workers for the LCS have also been outspoken about their concerns with the new start times. Citing a lack of logic in favor of seemingly illogical data, these LCS workers have unanimously agreed that, on paper, these time changes feel detrimental to the health of the LCS rather than beneficial.
For more information about the new time changes as well as the full Spring Split schedule, visit the official publishing on the LoL Esports website here.