Caster Azael raises concerns about LCS schedule change
League of Legends Championship Series caster Isaac “Azael” Cummings-Bentley has raised concerns about Riot Games’ decision to move LCS 2023’s gameplay to Friday and Thursday via Twitter. LCS typically takes place at the weekend.
Riot announced the news on Thursday, sharing data that people typically watch broadcasts on weekdays. Azael, however, pointed out that the data came from Twitch analytics.
“The data show that, in some cases, many or even more viewers are watching Twitch on weekdays, but how will this be applicable to our audience?” Azael said.
Azael also discussed that those Twitch viewers might not even be interested in esports, preferring to watch streams that they usually consume. Despite his concerns, Azael acknowledged that the effect of Riot’s decision could yet be felt by the LCS community and that it would take time to see the result.
The caster ended his Twitter thread with a list of improvements that the broadcast team had achieved throughout the 2022 season. Azael said interviews and broadcasts had increased emphasis on esports players. He also insisted that LCS could compete against other events.
Azael’s thread garnered responses from fans, with many saying that the schedule change prevented them from watching the event live. Some fans explained that they could not make time during the weekdays due to work or other activities.
Renowned LCS player Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng said he was “confused” with the new scheduling. Brian Kibler, streamer and game designer, also expressed his dissatisfaction with Riot’s decision.
“It’s a huge bummer, man, and it’s got to suck for all of you because it’s clearly going to majorly hit both immediate viewership and any growth potential for the audience,” Kibler said.
“Good luck to them getting new young players interested with broadcasts during school hours.”
LCS’s schedule change happened due to low viewership in 2022. The tournament only placed seventh in viewership rating among League tournaments held this year, according to data from EsportsCharts. Its peak viewership fell behind the second-tier European Regional Leagues. The EsportsCharts did not include Chinese viewership, which analysts said was low for LCS.
Some, however, argued that EsportsCharts only measured the peak viewership rating. The average concurrent viewers (ACV) for LCS in 2022 were still relatively high compared to other League tournaments. Nonetheless, people noted that the ACV rating dropped from 2021.
The new schedule for LCS makes it easier for European fans to watch games held in the North American region. On the other hand, fans who live in NA may find the timeslot non-accommodating.
Like LCS, the schedule for the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) was also changed. The organizer moved LPL’s start time to 5 p.m. CST or 4 a.m. ET, 45 minutes earlier than last season. LPL, however, will still run for seven days.
Meanwhile, League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) does not have a broadcast schedule change. Instead, the organizer reduces the duration of in-between pauses.
LCS is a top-tier professional League of Legends tournament held in the U.S. and Canada. Ten franchise teams are participating in the championship. Annually, LCS is held twice, in the spring and summer. The top eight teams will undergo a double-elimination tournament in the summer. Teams ranking first, second and third will head to the League of Legends World Championship.
Riot Games hosts most LCS gameplays in its studios in Los Angeles, California. A small number of fans can watch the tournament live. This tournament is also broadcasted on YouTube and Twitch.
Riot Games has collaborated with sponsors like Acer, Coca Cola and American Express to hold LCS.