Riot targets 2 LCS teams as part of massive esports league restructuring
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Riot targets 2 LCS teams as part of massive esports league restructuring

Riot Games has announced massive changes to the League of Legends esports ecosystem, and one of them involves getting rid of two LCS teams.

The Americas regions will undergo massive changes in 2025 as Riot announced that it is combining its top leagues to create something similar to VCT Americas in Valorant.

The LCS, Brazil’s CBLOL and Latin America’s LLA will merge next year to form a new Pan American league. Under the proposed model, the LCS and CBLOL will operate as two conferences in the mega league, rather than two separate competitions.

“Each conference will maintain six existing affiliate teams, integrate one team into the LLA based on geography, and reserve one ‘guest team’ spot for promotion and relegation in the Tier 2 system, for a total of eight teams per conference,” the statement said Riot.

For the 2024 season, the LCS already has fewer teams than in previous years, fielding only eight rosters, as Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses have decided to leave the league by “mutual decision” at the end of 2023.

Riot Games president of esports John Needham said at the time that the move allowed the league “more flexibility” as the company prepared to restructure.

The LCS has been declining in popularity in recent years as viewership continues to decline and it has repeatedly failed to achieve success in international tournaments.

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One of the most popular teams in the league, TSM, has sold its 2023 LCS spot to Shopify Rebellion, stating that it does not believe it can win the World Championship by fielding a squad in the league.

Now two more teams are leaving the LCS to open the door to a new league competition.

The teams that will receive the ax have not yet been revealed, and it is unclear whether Riot will make that decision or whether teams will choose to leave the LCS like EG and GG did over six months ago.

Riot stated that the reduction of LCS teams in the new league was an intentional part of the restructuring.

“Simply put, we have too many Tier 1 teams to sustainably support them. By reducing the number of teams, we will be able to concentrate GRP support, ensuring revenue is shared among fewer teams, thereby increasing revenue per team,” the announcement reads.

“It should also help concentrate player talent, making it easier for fans to experience a streamlined ecosystem and ultimately create more high-quality matches that are worth their time.”

Time will tell whether this improves the international prospects of American teams or helps fix the declining popularity of esports in the region.