Steven R. June 2, 2019
Fantasy esports is growing rapidly and League of Legends fans are being left out in the cold.
LCS commissioner Chris Greeley announced that fantasy services for the LCS and LEC will not be returning for the 2019 Summer Split. The decision comes due to developer Riot Games’ inability to secure a partner to create a new fantasy game, and the company’s inability to develop one on its own.
“The solve for Fantasy is not to find a new place to run the same product. We’ve spent the last year talking to partners about big and bold plans,” Greeley said in a statement. “Our goal was, and continues to be, to put out a Fantasy experience that we’re proud to stand behind and to have you play. However, the thing with taking big swings is that sometimes you miss your mark.”
Greeley apologized for the late response and goes on to discuss how Riot has talked with a number of entities in the fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports markets, but wasn't able to find the right fit.
This is undoubtedly disappointing news for fantasy LCS and LEC fans, especially considering how Riot Games was once well ahead of the curve when it came to fantasy esports.
Fantasy LCS first launched in beta form in 2014, offering fans new ways to connect with pro teams and extra incentives to keep up with competitive League of Legends. The initial rollout was well met, but support and development didn’t last over the years, resulting in a steady decline in the player base. Riot scrapped Fantasy LCS and LEC in December 2018 with just 10 percent of the participants it had at its peak.
Though Riot is still looking to bring back fantasy for the LEC and LCS, Greeley did not paint a bright picture of the project’s future. He promised an update on July 15, but also suggested that the company is planning to cash out on the idea entirely if things don’t start coming together soon.
Should that happen, Riot will pass the project on and offer support to third parties already established in the field.