There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the ways in which tournament organizers have had to pivot and adjust in terms of broadcasting events. Today in a blog post, Riot Games LCS Commissioner Chris Greeley and LCS Executive Producer Dave Stewart addressed concerns surrounding its League of Legends Championship Series broadcast from Week 1 which saw the company draw the ire of fans because of a series of technical and content issues. Admitting they “missed the mark,” the two laid out changes viewers can expect to see in the upcoming weeks.
One positive highlighted by Riot was its Average Minute Audience viewership numbers during the week. Riot claims that Week 1 was the “most viewed summer split regular season week since 2016,” with AMA up 20% from 2019 and peak concurrent viewers of 338K, up over 40% from 2019.
The LCS saw a slew of technical issues during the first week including intermittent audio outages, screen flickering, inaccurate in-game statistics, etc. Riot is looking to “button things up” with the engineering team heading into Week 2.
For the summer split, the league dropped its Monday night schedule and moved those matches to Friday, attempting to give Friday a broadcast identity “that draws in viewers outside of just what teams are playing that night.” The broadcast was criticized by fans for adding too many elements that gave viewers a type of sensory overload that was distracting, taking away from the focus of the commentators, analysts, and matches.
Also addressed was the perceived lack of synergy and scattered content tone in the Week 1 broadcasts. Audio glitches oftentimes created a delay for the match analysts, making it difficult to create a cohesive conversation. While giving no specifics, Riot said that it is working with members of the on-air team to improve segments in the weeks ahead.
One of the more interesting changes that appeared to backfire was the addition of TheSushiDragon, a DJ who was brought on to be included as a type of “house band” similar to those you see on late-night talk shows. However, the LCS agreed with fans’ criticisms that his segments felt disconnected from the flow of the broadcast. To remedy this, the LCS will be moving him to the end of Friday Night League to close out the night.
Lastly, the new LCS heads-up display, which shows pertinent in-game statistics and other information, was at times inaccurate and confusing in terms of layout. Riot will implement changes to improve the HUD and look for feedback from week to week.
Week 2 of the LCS starts Thursday, June 19, when CLG takes on the Golden Guardians at 6 p.m. PST.