Riot’s Restructuring Plan: Cutting 2 LCS Teams in Major League Esports Overhaul

Riot Games has revealed significant alterations to the League of Legends esports structure, including the removal of two LCS teams.

In 2025, there will be major changes in the Americas regions as Riot has revealed plans to combine its top leagues and establish a new league similar to VCT Americas in Valorant.

The LCS, Brazil’s CBLOL, and Latin America’s LLA will unite in the upcoming year to establish a pan-American league. Under the proposed structure, the LCS and CBLOL will function as two conferences within the consolidated league, rather than two distinct tournaments.

According to the announcement from Riot, each conference will retain six of its current partnered teams and add one team from the LLA that aligns geographically. Additionally, one spot will be reserved for a “Guest team”to participate in promotion and relegation through the Tier 2 system, resulting in a total of eight teams per conference.

The number of teams in the LCS for the 2024 season has decreased compared to previous years, with only eight rosters participating. This is due to the departure of Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses, who mutually decided to leave the league in late 2023.

At the time, President of Esports at Riot Games John Needham stated that the decision allowed for increased flexibility within the league as the company underwent this restructuring.

Over the past few years, the LCS has experienced a decline in popularity due to decreasing viewership, and it has consistently struggled to achieve success at international tournaments.

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Reece Martinez/Riot Games

The team TSM, which is highly favored in the league, decided to sell its spot in the LCS to Shopify Rebellion in 2023. This was due to their belief that they would not be able to win a World Championship with their current team in the league.

Currently, two additional teams are exiting the LCS in order to make room for the upcoming league competition.

Despite the uncertainty, it remains unclear whether Riot will make the decision to cut teams or if teams will choose to leave the LCS, similar to EG and GG’s departure over six months ago. The identities of the teams facing potential elimination have yet to be disclosed.

The downsizing of teams from the LCS in this new league was a deliberate aspect of the restructuring, according to Riot.

“As the announcement stated, there are currently an excessive number of teams in Tier-1 that cannot be financially supported in the long run. By decreasing the number of teams, the GRP will be able to concentrate its support and distribute revenues more evenly among a smaller group of teams, ultimately resulting in higher revenue per team.”

“This will also aid in focusing player talent, simplifying the fan experience by following a streamlined ecosystem, and ultimately producing more top-notch matches that are worth your time.”

It is yet to be determined whether this will enhance the chances of American teams on the global stage or revive the declining popularity of esports in the region.

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