On the eve of the biggest celebration on the League of Legends competitive calendar, it has been reported that the North American League Championship Series is set to downsize following a supposed meeting between Riot Games and team owners.
League personality Michael “Veteran” Archer claims the meeting was held possibly as recently as this week where Riot heads and LCS team owners “floated the idea of reducing [the league] from 10 teams to eight.” A decision on how the league will be operated is expected as early as this Monday, Veteran said.
Veteran and his sources believe two current LCS teams will be out of the franchised league before the next split begins in early 2024. The sudden news comes as the region remains in the throes of a major roster shuffle. Nine of the league’s 10 teams will already look very different in 2023 with Golden Guardians the only team not to have made an official change as yet—which has led many to believe it may be one of the two teams out of the league.
Others have speculated Evil Geniuses are also suspected of exiting the LCS after months of scaling back esports operations at the organization. At this stage, however, no team has officially confirmed their withdrawal from the league or acknowledged the rumors.
All 10 LCS teams have players or staff on the payroll for 2024 at this time, meaning
Veteran believes the meeting was kept between Riot and team ownership, meaning the bulk of the LCS playing group, as well as other support staff, would be unaware of the possible downsizing and as such, may have their employment affected. “I decided to tweet this so people are aware that their job agreements with an LCS team currently have a huge asterisk,” Veteran added.
“I just want to make sure there isn’t a situation where somebody is deciding on jobs ASAP and makes a bad choice. I’ve been that guy who got fucked over on the day of a decision, and this off-season is at a critical point right now. So if this helps one or two people, I think it was worth [it].”
The rumors come at a critical juncture for the LCS. While viewership was down across the board for regional leagues in 2023, the North American league was hit hardest and has struggled to attract eyes to the product for a number of seasons.
Should two teams be out of the LCS, 2024’s opening split will be the first season in over a decade to feature fewer than 10 teams. Some have speculated Riot may be considering a merge with South America similar to that seen in sister title VALORANT, while more are hoping the final two slots can be filled with the top NA Challenger squads—meaning a return to a promotion-relegation system for the region.
We’ll likely know more in the coming days after the conclusion of Worlds 2023, with Veteran claiming the result of the meeting will be made public on Monday, Nov. 20.
Dot Esports has reached out to Riot Games but has not received a response prior to this article’s publishing.