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League Strike Called Off After Riot, Player's Union Reach Agreement

Two weeks ago it looked like League of Legend’s North American season was going to be thrown into turmoil when the player’s union called for a strike over Riot’s plan to make cuts to the North American Challenger’s League, and Riot responded by suspending the entire LCS. After negotiations between the LCS Players Association and Riot, however, that strike is being called off and games are back on.

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On May 29 the LCSPA called the strike—with members having “overwhelmingly” voted in favour—and made five key demands of Riot, whose plans to slash the NACL threatened dozens of jobs. Those demands included minimum contracts for LCS summer finals winners, a $300,000 salary pool for NACL teams, promotion and relegation between the LCS and NACL, a “roster continuity” rule for NACL teams and provisions to allow LCS organisations to partner with affiliate teams for cost-sharing.

After a week of negotiations between Riot and the LCSPA, an agreement has today been reached, with the developers announcing the following compromised terms:

The LCSPA issued their own statement, providing their own spin on the agreed terms while acknowledging that they’re a “concession” and that “the agreements fall short of our initially stated goals”:

While the LCSPA are correct in highlighting the “monumental” nature of the vote and strike plans, which can hopefully serve as an example to other players in other games, the “historic response from Riot”—where the company threatened to cancel the entire LCS season, a move that prompted some key players to waver in their support—highlights the limitations any union are going to face in the esports space, where nearly every system and platform they function within are controlled by the companies they’re trying to walkout on. Riot had all the leverage here, and clearly knew it.

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