Last night marked the start of the 2016 LCS Summer split, which is always glorious day for LCS fans everywhere. Well, it has been in the past, but with this split’s production changes, maybe not so much. No doubt about it, the LCS production quality for the Summer split has been upped, Riot has a new studio designed specifically for their new format where they’ll be playing multiple games at once. There’s just one problem, opening day viewership flopped.
League of Legends present and past has been the biggest eSport in the world in just about every category you can think of. Viewership, prize pool, you name it. Yesterday’s LCS Summer split debut hopefully isn’t a cause for worry among Riot and hardcore fans of the scene. The reason for the dip is pretty obvious, it’s scheduling. The new schedule for both the EU and NA LCS makes it virtually impossible for fans to watch both of the events. You can see the format changes here.
With the EU LCS starting at 11AM EST Fridays, (they day where both NA and EU play on the same day) and the NA LCS starting at 8PM EST this creates issues for those who like to watch both. Not only is that your entire Friday you must dedicate to watching League of Legends, it also presents a large issue for those European fans who enjoy watching the North American LCS. Most parts of Europe have the NA LCS starting at 2 and some cases 3 AM! That’s impossible unless you literally live and breathe League of Legends.
So the real question we boil down to, is the loss of viewership for Riot worth having the best of 2s and best of 3s? There’s obviously pros and cons to both scenarios, it’s very apparent that the best of 2s and 3s are more liked by not only the fans but the pro players as well, and adds the mechanic of adaptation into the professional scene, which is much needed considering any big game that means anything in League of Legends is a best of three, whether it be regional playoffs or Worlds.
With Riot being very open about the LCS productions not being profitable, this is most likely only going to hurt them. One thing they could do to improve how lucrative the LCS is adding more advertisements into the streams. Currently there’s not many advertisements actually put onto the LCS productions, and it’s for certain they’d be able to increase their revenue by adding some. It will very slightly decrease the happiness of the viewers, but with the loss of concurrent viewers because of the format changes it might just be necessary.
It’s obvious if the numbers stay where they currently are, Riot will likely have to once again make changes to their formatting, which they’ve already made obvious will be happening most likely with the start of Season 7 LCS. With EU currently having best of twos, and NA having best of threes, they’ve stated they will look to make the regions match each other with the Summer split being a trial period.