Riot addresses criticism of LCS broadcasts, promises improvements

Olivia R. June 18, 2020

The League of Legends community has been noticing a lot of issues with LCS broadcasts this year, and Riot has finally responded to growing criticism. 

Working, broadcasting, and streaming remotely has been a challenge in 2020, but Riot seems to understand that they can definitely be doing better after complaints began to add up during the 2020 LCS Spring Split. In a recent press release, Riot explained that they were "excited to push past" the challenges associated with working in an entirely cloud-based workflow, but they recognize that they "missed the mark" when it came to viewer expectations. And it wasn't only technical issues, but a lack of creativity as well. 

When Week 1 of the LCS Summer Split started, viewers started commenting that it was more of the same thing. So now Riot is promising a change going into this weekend's broadcast. 

Riot to address technical problems with LCS broadcast

According to Riot's press release, they suffered a series of technical issues that weren't seen during their rehearsals, including audio issues and screen flickering. LCS commissioner Chris "Riot Commish" Greeley and executive producer Dave "RumbleStew" Stewart told fans that their engineering team will have those sorted out going into Week 2. 

They also admitted that they received a lot of critical feedback on the new LCS HUD, most of it centered around certain design elements and a lag in displayed data being correctly updated. For Week 2, the LCS broadcast will have a reduced top bar to "improve clarity" on stats in an attempt to keep address viewers' concerns with tracking information during matches. 

On the technical side, Riot is actively working on fixing issues surrounding HUD data being inaccurate or showing up too late. Riot says that these were problems that didn't appear in rehearsals or playtests, meaning they didn't have a chance to fix or troubleshoot before going on-air. This week, they deployed a fix that will make the HUD more quick and accurate, but they'll continue to monitor the HUD for potential issues. 

Riot discusses issues with Friday Night League

"One of our goals heading into the Summer Split was to make Friday Night League visually distinct from the rest of our weekend broadcast. We think it’s important that Friday Night League has an identity that draws in viewers outside of just what teams are playing that night," Riot explained.

Still, they have admitted that the visual style was "jarring" when presented in the LCS DOME. To make Friday Night League feel more cohesive with the LCS DOME's studio environment, they are currently scaling back some of the new visual elements. 

Riot also addressed concerns with how TheSushiDragon was presented during the Friday Night League. 

"We initially thought to treat him as a house band, similar to what you'd see on a late night talk show, and intersperse his segments throughout Friday's broadcast. It was clear, however, that the way this segment was set up made it feel disconnected from the rest of the broadcast. We recognize that TheSushiDragon excels in a space that he’s able to fully own for an extended period, like the LCS Finals After Party, instead of in short segments. We’ll be moving him to be the end cap of Friday Night League as an aftershow to close out the night," Riot explained.

Their final Friday Night League discussion point was on the "analyst desk synergy" and "content tone." They ultimately blamed audio glitches for those inconsistencies, explaining that the analysts were having difficulty hearing each other due to delays. Still, they agreed that the segments "felt forced" and are working with the on-air talent team to see how they can better "nail" these segments in coming weeks. 

Riot then thanked viewers for viewing Week 1's broadcast despite the setbacks and complaints. Riot offered that Week 1 was the most viewed Summer Split regular season week since 2016. Peak concurrent viewers were up 40% from 2019 at around 338,000. 

"We’re working as hard as possible to deliver the broadcast experience that you expect of us, and we’ll continue to implement changes to ensure the best possible broadcast across the Summer Split. We appreciate your support and feedback. We look forward to sharing the rest of the split with you!" Riot concluded.