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LoL: Riot Games expands LCS watch party program for 2023

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League of Legends developer Riot Games has announced the expansion of the League Championship Series (LCS) 2023 watch party program.

This year, Riot chose to open up applications to influencers in the “larger” LoL community, following fan suggestions. This allows influencers to co-stream every match in the Spring split either on Twitch or YouTube.

Per a Riot blog post, the co-streaming slots are limited, and selected applicants must adhere to the program’s policy, which still includes the three-strike system.

LoL content creators have until January 23, 10 p.m. PT, to fill out an online application form if they want to participate in the streaming party. However, those who wish to co-stream Week 1 matches — scheduled for January 26 to 27 — need to fill out the form by January 18 at 10 p.m. PT.

Riot first introduced the LCS watch party ahead of the 2021 Summer split. Fan-favorite streamers like Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, Nick “LS” De Cesare and Christian “IWDominate” Rivera participated in the first round of the event by invitation.

The developer made adjustments to the program for its second season in 2022. Riot limited streaming parties to certain parts of the season, such as Super Weeks, Lock In and Playoffs. The event also remained invite-only that year, drawing criticism from fans for leaving out many influential figures in the community.

Riot shifts LCS to weekdays

For years, Riot held the LCS on Saturdays and Sundays, with Super Weeks adding Fridays to its schedule a few times throughout the season. However, last year the organizer announced that the LCS would be moved to Thursdays and Fridays.

Although some community members said it was an effort to improve the LCS, most people criticized Riot, including the company’s employees.

Riot employees in charge of LCS operations will be significantly affected because they need to commute during peak traffic hours. They will need to prepare extensively for the pro play every week during the season, which means they have to hit the road hours before the usual schedule.

LCS caster Isaac “Azael” Cummings-Bentley said he had “a ton of concerns” about the change. He discussed how the decision could affect live viewership for LCS, which reported a decline in the past years.

This change will affect not only people who watch the event online but also local fans living in Los Angeles, where Riot’s studio is located. Because the matches are scheduled during the day on weekdays, LA fans may not be able to come due to other priorities.

Professional players were also baffled by the new schedule. Doublelift, who will make his pro play comeback via LCS, ridiculed the new timeslot on his Twitter account.

The change of schedule for the LCS came with the news that Riot’s Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) would take over the weekend timeslot. Fans then accused Riot of trying to push the North American LoL scene to the curb to make way for the newer, more popular game.

Riot has since rebuked the claim, saying that VCT’s schedule change did not mean it was trying to push away the League.

The developer was also under fire after letting go of LCS desk host James “Dash” Patterson from this year’s event. Dash announced the news via a tweet, which Riot’s account later reposted. According to Dash, Riot did not communicate the dismissal beforehand.

“After spending a decade, you know, giving a 100 percent of myself to something, that I didn’t feel that kind of respect given back towards me in that moment of just having a conversation about ‘hey, we want to make changes, and can we arrive at a decision, that, you know, with you,'” Dash said during a live stream.