Tyler1 was on the analyst desk during the NA LCS finals, but that can’t be where it stops

Working with community creators like Tyler1 is the next big step for League.

Photo via Riot Games

It’s not rare for Riot to bring on non-analysts to the analyst desk for NA LCS broadcasts They’re usually pro players or other members of the esports community, however.

Riot did something new for Sunday’s finals between Cloud9 and Team Liquid–Tyler “Tyler1” Steinkamp, one of the biggest content creators in the League of Legends community, was welcomed to the desk. It was a game-changer.

Tyler1 blended right in. He joined in on the banter with host James “Dash” Patterson and the usual analysts for the entire appearance, all without dropping character or sacrificing what makes Tyler1 who he is. Engagement on the Twitch channel hiked up as T1 fans flocked to the chat, and a post exclaiming “Tyler1 is on the analyst desk” jumped to the top of the League Reddit community.

So why so much love? The NA LCS gets plenty of engagement and viewers as it is, why did it need Tyler1? Because Tyler1’s fans aren’t always the same fans that are involved with the esports community—they’re two completely different groups.

Having him on the desk notably raised the bar, for both viewer count and crowd engagement. It was a success, and while that’s great to reflect on and cheer for, it makes us wonder why it’s taken so long to happen. Years ago, Riot would pull on community members for events, like when it brought CLG owner George “HotshotGG” Georgallidis on stage to compete against Brandon “Saintvicious” DiMarco in an ARAM show match in 2014.

Even back then, Riot directly raising its community creators up in front of fans was rare. And as it’s dwindled even more over the last several years, the excitement surrounding Tyler1 this weekend just points toward the obvious need that the fans have for more.

There are several ways Riot could keep the momentum rolling. In the NA LCS, a content creator could be brought in to talk on a smaller-scale analyst desk, or even to compete in some pros-versus-streamers or pros-versus-one-trick-players-event after a day’s games. Outside of the competitive scene, though, it could also host streamers, artists, and more at the Riot headquarters in Los Angeles for broadcasted events, like contests, charity events, or just to hang out. By hoisting up creators in front of their fans, it shows the fans that they can get more out of following both the creator and the game itself, and that Riot cares about its community.

Last week, Riot announced a partner program that offers some of Riot’s resources and a few perks to content creators that join in. This is a great start, and hopefully, this weekend’s streamer show match and Tyler1’s desk appearance signify a fast and dedicated growth in this historically-lacking area.