A historic moment in the esports industry is waiting around the corner if the LCS players vote in favor of a walkout.
Riot and LCS removed the ruling that requires LCS organizations to field a roster in the North American Challengers League on May 12. Just under two weeks after the announcement, all but three LCS organizations decided to part ways with their NACL teams, exiting the academy system completely. Even the three remaining teams (EG, TL and FlyQuest) did not commit to the NACL’s future after this Summer Split.
The decision was met with widespread criticism from the community and the players in the LCS and NACL. In an interview, LCS Players Association (LCSPA) Executive Director Philip Aram said the LCSPA was lied to by Riot, who said there would not be any radical changes before the 2024 Season. Aram also stated ever since the LCS’s announcement that a player strike, along with transforming LCSPA to a formal union, was on the table as an option.
According to a new report today from Washington Post’s Mikhail Klimentov, LCSPA decided to hold a vote amongst the players to determine whether or not there will be a walkout. The vote was called by the executive council of the LCSPA and will be held this Sunday, May 28, just three days before the scheduled start day of the 2023 LCS Summer Split.
LCS Players Association also released a five-item list titled “Our Asks of Riot,” confirming the report by Klimentov. LCSPA’s list includes systematic changes to both NACL and LCS. These demands include $300K/year of financial support for NACL teams by Riot, allowing LCS teams to partner with independent NACL orgs, a 3/5 roster continuity rule for NACL and reinstitution of the promotion/relegation system.
— LCS Players Association (@NALCSPA) May 23, 2023
While VALORANT doesn’t necessarily have relegations from the main international leagues (EMEA, Americas and Pacific VCTs), VCT Challengers teams have a chance to get promoted into their regional VCT via the Challengers Ascension tournaments. Teams who win Challengers Ascension gain a two-year promotion into their territory’s international league.
If this system was to be implemented for League of Legends as well, the team who won the NACL Split would play in the LCS for the next two years (four splits) and then would return to the NACL to battle their way back up once again.
LCS is scheduled to return from the Mid-Season Invitational break with its Summer Split on June 1, but the future is currently uncertain depending on May 28’s player vote. If the LCS walkout happens and players don’t participate in the Summer Split of LCS, it would be a historic decision. While there are some player strikes in esports history, such as the 01 Esports and Ex Oblivione’s protest against Blizzard during Overwatch Contenders in 2022, this would be the first time a walkout happened on a such large scale.
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