It is not a secret that League of Legends Esports is suffering from sinking viewership numbers in the west. While the LEC is doing at least somewhat well, the LCS has seen some of the lowest viewership numbers from its core audience since its introduction in 2013. Fans have now discussed how to help the North American league grow again.
The LCS is not doing well in 2023. While the 2022 Championship finals saw a peak viewership of more than 400,000 viewers, the 2023 broadcast does not even manage to reach half of that so far. Obviously, the LCS Championship is yet to happen in 2023, and we will most likely see a peak above the current record for this year. However, replicating the previous year's record seems unrealistic.
This decline in viewership is partially due to a change in broadcast days. Instead of the previous schedule that saw the LCS teams compete on Saturday and Sunday night, their matches have been rescheduled to Thursday and Friday afternoon. As a consequence, fewer people are able to tune in to the broadcast due to their work schedules.
Additionally, the European viewer base is suffering from this change too, as their work schedule and the resulting sleep schedule makes it difficult to start watching games at 23:00 pm CEST (22:00 BST) mid-week.
How To Restore The LCS Broadcast To Its Former Glory
This scheduling issue is called out by LCS fans on the official League of Legends Subreddit too. While the sentiment seems to be that home office workers should have an even easier time tuning in to the LCS, the majority of the League community is suffering from it instead.
Another popular request is to bring back the former LCS host James 'Dash' Patterson, who has been removed from the broadcast ahead of the 2023 season. After stating that the LCS is no longer in need of a permanent host, the LCS management would continue to give the hosting role to Mark 'MarkZ' Zimmerman, who has previously been a color caster and analyst.
Once again, the current LCS format is being criticized. Ahead of the 2018 season, the double-round best of three-format has been changed to the best of one-format to provide better entertainment and to simplify the schedule, reducing the number of match days to two per week. This has led to a spike in viewership during the 2018 season, as every LCS team played on the same days.
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With the LCS being in its sixth year of the current regular season format, it is understandable that fans ask for change. With the LEC partially returning to the best of 3-format, some fans believe the LCS should follow in their footsteps or abolish best of 1s completely.
Some fans also believe that returning to the best of 3-format will strengthen the LCS teams in international tournaments, as pro players will earn more on-stage experience during the LCS regular season. However, this remains a point of discussion, as long-term fans still remember that the LEC and LCS achieved their best-ever World Championship results after the introduction of domestic leagues right after reintroducing the best of 1-format in 2018.
No Plans To Change The LCS Format In 2024 Have Been Shared Yet
Another popular idea among the fan base is to restrict champions teams have picked in previous games. As with many ideas about the format, this change has been discussed many times before. While the lack of viable picks is a fair concern in a best of five-series, a best of three will suffer a lot less from it. While filtering out bans might be the wrong approach, filtering out 20 champions in two games does not sound like it overly restricts the drafting process.
Another user calls for action regarding the official LoL Esports website. According to starfox93, the website is too cluttered and clunky to use. He also mentions that apart from the global schedule, it is really difficult to find information on various competitions. While there are multiple third-party websites that explain tournament formats, Worlds qualifying systems and more, the LoL Esports website rarely features this kind of information outside their press releases.
Last, but certainly not least, comes an idea from Reddit user EggyChickenEgg88. Their idea is probably the most unconventional in the entire threat, but they definitely have a point – which region are players, organizations and viewers going to run away to if there are no other regions?
While the North American Challengers League (NACL) and the European Regional Leagues (ERLs) are set to receive changes ahead of the 2024 season, no plans have been shared to introduce any changes to the LCS or the LEC so far.
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