LCS Summer Split delayed as Riot shuts down LCSPA requests

By Olivia Richman


May 30, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

Riot Games has officially delayed the LCS Summer Split by two weeks after the LCS Players’ Association led a walk out to protest the company’s decision to no longer require Academy teams.

It was a monumental moment in esports history when LCS players decided to stage a walkout in solidarity with the Academy tier of competitive League of Legends. After Riot Games announced that LCS franchised teams were no longer required to have an Academy-level team, many orgs immediately dumped their Academy rosters and staff, causing the LCSPA to get involved.

Without any top-level players planning to compete in the opening weekend of the Summer Split — starting in just a few days — it was rumored that Riot Games was going to temporarily remove the ranked requirements for the LCS so teams could quickly sign any willing player to compete in order to not get fined for not participating in the tournament.

Meanwhile, the LCSPA was going to meet with Riot Games to discuss the situation and come to an agreement. But Riot has now released a blog post that confirmed a delay is set to take place.

Riot Games threatens to cancel Summer Split and disqualify LCS from Worlds

Global head of LoL esports Naz Aletaha wrote out a detailed response to the Academy drama and player walkout, but it was met with a lot of criticism from the League of Legends scene.

It started out by stating that Riot “believes in the Tier 2 development system,” but a focus on esports orgs’ economic sustainability has forced them to make some tough decisions.

Blog post image

“There’s been a lot of talk about the current state of esports, including esports’ long-term future. Over the last few months we’ve been more focused than ever on meeting the teams’ needs for economic sustainability. But we also know that sustainability can’t come at the expense of having a robust, thriving development pipeline to bring fresh, homegrown, new blood into the league,” said Aletaha.

Then, Aletaha addressed Riot’s previous decision to continue with the Spring Split, even if the top LCS pros were not present. He said that continuing without top players went against the LCS’ core values and that fans should witness “nothing but the best” on the Riot Games Arena stage.

But he also threatened to cancel the Summer Split if the LCS season was delayed longer than the two-week period.

“Delaying beyond the two-week window would make it nearly impossible to run a legitimate competition, and in that case, we would be prepared to cancel the entire LCS summer season,” Aletaha said. “Carrying this forward, if the LCS summer season is canceled, this will also eliminate LCS teams qualifying for 2023 Worlds. I want to be clear: That is not an outcome we’d want, but it’s unfortunately the reality of ensuring we run a fair, competitive global system.”

Aletaha lastly addressed some requests from the LCS Players’ Association, ultimately shutting down every request. This included claims that the salary demands from the LCSPA were unsustainable and that an ask for a Valorant-inspired “visitor slot system” would “dilute LCS teams’ equity and put considerable downward pressure on the amount of revenue.”


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