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Riot Threatens To Cancel Entire Esports Season If Striking League Of Legends Players Can't Reach Deal [Update]

Earlier this week League of Legends players voted “overwhelmingly” to strike over plans to make rule changes that would cut the North American Challenger’s League—which only launched last year—from 16 teams to seven.

The Week In Games: Station Wagon Survival And A Cozy League Spinoff

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The LCS Players Association, the body representing the region’s professional players, say the plans will see an estimated 70 people—players, coaches, etc—lose their jobs. Riot, meanwhile, say the cuts were necessary to ensure the North American leagues remain “sustainable [and] economically viable”.

Tensions escalated a day later when news emerged that pro teams had been actively looking “to field scab players”, a move that the LCSPA rightly say would “put all players’ futures at risk”, as “crossing the line undermines player negotiating power”.

The LCSPA met with Riot earlier today, and not long after, Riot published a long statement on their site addressing the walkout. You don’t have to read far to see that the company has decided to play hardball.

A large part of the post is dedicated to telling North American players that, hey, other regions can make their leagues profitable, why can’t you. The most stinging example is this line, where Riot outright rejects the LCSPA’s demands that the company “commit to a revenue pool for player salaries of $300,000 per NACL team, per year”:

The harshest language, however, is reserved for Riot’s comments on the league’s upcoming scheduling, where the company essentially says that if a deal can’t be reached in the next two weeks not only will the entire LCS summer season be called off, but LCS teams won’t be able to qualify for the 2023 Worlds either:

Crucially, despite the length of the post and the number of points it addresses, Riot doesn’t once comment on the possibility of teams using “scab” players. The LCSPA has yet to issue their own comment after the meeting; we’ve contacted them but at time of publishing have yet to hear back.

UPDATE 11:55pm ET: The LCSPA has now responded, saying in a statement:

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