Two of the most iconic voices in esports will no longer be part of the industry’s biggest broadcast.
Joe Miller and Leigh “Deman” Smith will no longer lend their impressive pipes and frenetic commentary to the League Championship Series. The pair signed new contracts with Turtle Entertainment, committing them to stay in Cologne, the location of the Electronic Sports League studios.
With the LCS set to move to Berlin next year, Miller and Smith had a weighty decision to make. Stay with ESL, or move to Berlin with Riot Games and the LCS? Both chose to stay with the company they’ve built their careers with.
Miller will take over as Editor in Chief of ESL TV, affording him the opportunity to shepherd a herd of casting talent at ESL, a responsibility he’s looking forward to tackling together with Smith. Smith says he has “no doubt” he would have continued casting the LCS had the studio stayed in Cologne, but that his “life” is in Cologne now.
“The opportunity to manage and develop my own team of commentators with the help of my long standing casting colleague Leigh Smith is the next step in my esports career,” Miller wrote on Facebook.
While many of the other LCS commentators made their careers in League of Legends, Miller and Smith are two of the pioneers of esports commentary. They have long histories in esports dating back more than 10 years, when esports was in its infancy and commentating was still called shoutcasting, more underground than professional.
The pair started in Battlefield 1942 but quickly took their trade to bigger titles. Miller’s career took off in 2005 when he cast the Cyberathlete Professional League World Tour, at the time the biggest ever esports event. He joined ESLTV in 2008, adding his British accent to thousands of their broadcasts before coming to the LCS. The energetic and often goofy Miller is likely the most prolific and high profile commentator in Western esports, working hundreds of major tournaments and commentating on dozens of games.
Smith took a similar path, working at shoutcasting crew QuadV with Miller for a number of years before casting Intel Extreme Masters events for ESL and eventually joining Riot Games for the LCS.
Smith’s commentary accompanied each of the last three Riot World Championship events, with Miller alongside him at the last two. But this year, someone else will take over as the voice of League of Legends.
“I know some of you will be disappointed that I wont be commentating LCS next year,” Miller wrote on Facebook. “But I hope that you continue to support me with everything that I do for ESL just like you did for the last 10 years!”