The LCS 2024 will feature only eight teams with the announcement catching some players off-guard.
Riot Games announced changes to the League of Legends Championship Series starting in 2024. The number of teams would be reduced from ten to eight with Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses exiting the League as per a mutual decision. The announcement came before the start of the League of Legends free agency. However, the Players’ Association expressed their displeasure with the 11th-hour decision-making process.
LCSPA claims Riot and teams left players out to dry
The announcement does come as a shock to the League of Legends esports community. While the North American League has not always been the most successful, it was always an integral part of the esports scene. With the reduction in team, it means players now have only eight teams to choose from the LCS from the previous ten.
In a strongly worded statement, the LCSPA said “the sudden loss of jobs harms our members”. They claimed players who have received verbal commitments will not have time to seek opportunities elsewhere as most rosters have already been signed or completed.
For the second time this year, Riot and teams have left players out of the decision-making process and left players out to dry because of organizational mismanagement and 11th hour decision-making. The released players and players who are having verbal agreements not honored will not have the fair opportunity to to seek work elsewhere as most rosters are completed or committed to by the time of today’s announcement. The LCSPA has called on Riot privately to balance the loss of opportunity with improvements to LCS and NACL conditions for 2024.
The two teams exiting the League are Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians. As per a SBJ report, Evil Geniuses might be exiting esports altogether, having already parted ways with players from other titles as well.
LCSPA and Riot working together
The statement further emphasized that LCSPA and Riot Games are working together to provide a structure where players are given a seat during the decision-making process. With the sudden departure of two teams, many players are suddenly without an org support and might not be able to find one in adequate time in this free agency.
Several players were left blindsided by the sudden announcement including Golden Guardians' Licorice.
The 26-year-old Canadian said he received the news on the day of the announcement further complicating matters for his career.
Some of his teammates, however, were already on the lookout for a new org for the upcoming season. On November 10, River’s social media message seemed to indicate he signed a contract with another team, although it’s not yet clear which org he will join. Gori has also been on the lookout for a new team.