NA LCS: The state of the LCS after four weeks of play
The NA LCS is going through a renaissance, but not everyone is happy about it. Four weeks in, the NA League of Legends Championship Series is shattering all of our pre-season predictions and Power Rankings. Cloud9 is sitting comfortably at the top of the standings with an unbroken 8-0 win streak. Team Liquid, EG and TSM, our top 3 predictions are stuck at the lower part of the standings with abysmal performances in the opening weeks.
And while the league as a whole is getting way more competitive, the viewer numbers don’t reflect the competitiveness of the NA LCS. The first few weeks saw a mixed schedule of Academy and LCS games as the new schedule format was introduced. Sufficed to say, the change did not sit well with some viewers. Additionally, the production “value” is put into the crosshairs.
The 2020 NA LCS Broadcast troubles
Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles was first to throw shade at the LCS Production at the beginning of the split. But then, Monte throws shade at everything, Riot Games in the past and the Overwatch League as well. What was not expected was the amount of like minded individuals that agreed with his standpoint. Most viewers agreed that since the rebranding, the LEC has gone above and beyond to level up their game. The NA LCS on the other hand has remained “stale” and un-evolving.
LCS used to have better production but worse teams.
Now LEC has better production, better teams, and is all-around more entertaining.
Time to step it up, LCS.
— MonteCristo (@MonteCristo) February 1, 2020
One of the big changes in 2020 was Monday Night League. The idea behind it was showcasing the top talent and best matches in a new time slot that would dramatically improve the LCS and also extend the broadcast to an extended schedule. However, the time slot did not resonate with many viewers as Europe and China tuned out completely and NA LCS kept the viewership numbers at sub 50,000. VoD review’s however are still strong, meaning the fans do enjoy the games, they just don’t enjoy “when” the games are played.
The final point of contention between viewers and stream was aimed towards the side content. The NA LCS established many of the famous content factories related to the LCS. From “This or That” to “The Dive” or “The Phreak Show”, the NA LCS has always invented ways to look at the game and comment in an innovative and entertaining fashion. But what lacks in the eyes of many is the continued innovation LCS is famous for. The same old shtick of this shows has dulled out the viewers and they are ready for a change, but the direction the recent changes are taking are not resonating with the average viewer.
How Rito decides to address the growing concerns of some viewers remains to be seen.
The Good News
What seems painfully obvious is that the NA LCS is way more competitive then in the previous two season. Nine out of the ten teams are hyper competitive with only one clear favorite. The overall increase in competitiveness bodes well for those pained by seeing the same old rotation of TSM and Liquid fighting for the title. In fact, it seems the LEC and the LCS have swapped places this season as the North American league looks way more competitive then their European counterparts.
On top of that, all ten franchised teams are doing reasonably well in the financial and stability department as partnerships keep deepening and evolving. This should at least put the fears of another Echo Fox happening anytime soon.
What the LCS currently needs is time to adjust their league and train their viewers to the new broadcasting “meta”. With teams like Immortals, Cloud9 and FlyQuest all stepping up early in the split, we are in for an amazing season in 2020 for North America.