Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends (LoL) and VALORANT, is transforming one of its studios to house more esports games outside of LoL.
Raul Fernandez, Head of Riot Games Esports in the Americas, confirmed that the LCS Studio, which was home to LoL Esports North America, will be “sharing its space with VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Americas” and that the new space will be called the Riot Games Arena.
On top of receiving a new name, the Arena will get a makeover and will feature a “stage that transforms to fit the custom layout of each esport”.
Fernandez revealed that the new stage will be 18 inches (45.7cm) high with over 1,000 LED screens, which will push the studio space “to the absolute limit”.
The Riot Games Arena will debut with a Global Kickoff Event that will stream on 10-11 January.
LCS and VCT Americas 2023 Broadcast Schedules Announced
In the update, changes to the LCS 2023 schedule were highlighted, where LoL Esports games will take place on Thursdays and Fridays at 12pm Pacific Time (3am SGT).
Games for the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) in the Americas will be broadcast from Saturdays through Mondays at 12pm Pacific Time (3am SGT).
According to Fernandez, “viewership habits and expectations have changed” in the region.
In the update, he said that LCS viewers apparently consume more Esports content on weekdays than on weekends, so LoL Esports have decided to move the schedule to Thursdays and Fridays.
The entire Spring Split schedule was also published in the same announcement piece.
LCS community concerned with the new schedule
The LoL community in North America have expressed their concerns about the new schedule. One of the most vocal was LCS caster Isaac “Azael” Cummings, who took to Twitter with his concerns, saying that the move was “scary”.
Azael said that he raised “a ton of questions internally”, and said he was worried for the future of the North American league and his own career as a caster.
“Will the average viewer habits of Twitch reflect that of the LCS? Will we be able to gain hold of the attention of a new crop of viewers as a result of the changes,” he said in a follow-up tweet.
However, the LCS caster also mentioned that despite the changes to the schedule, the North American League has “so much to look forward to”, and that every aspect of the LCS has improved, so he was still excited.
Another popular LoL caster, Clayton “CaptainFlowers: Raines replied to Azael’s tweet, saying that they would “face the unknown together”.
Twitter user ggwoohee also responded to Azael’s series of tweets, saying that he had been watching the LCS since 2014 loyally but that 12pm PST was “pretty much impossible for me”.
Others, like Twitter user JTSim17 highlighted that many viewers would work from 9am to 5pm on Mondays to Fridays, and that while it was a chance to get new viewers, it felt like a “slap in the face to many of the fans who have been with the LCS for so long”.
Popular LCS pro and streamer Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng of 100 Thieves also tweeted about the new schedule, expressing his disbelief at the 12pm Thursday schedule.
Streamer and game designer Brian Kibler also shared his thoughts on social media about the schedule change, saying, “Good luck to them getting new young players interested with broadcasts during school hours.”
Notably, LCS and VCT Americas will be the only region running on weekdays at midday.
Fernandez, however, reassured fans in the same announcement that “no change is set in stone” and that the team will “continue incorporating fan feedback into [their] future thinking”.
To view the new LoL Esports and VCT broadcast times, you can check the Esports Broadcast update.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She’s also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.
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