An alternative LCS? The entertainment side of LoL
While the NA LCS raises its barrier of entry to $13 million for new teams, could we see an alternative league in the future?
For League of Legends, competition doesn’t get any stiffer than the established leagues Riot has put together.
But for other sports, the existence of a “most competitive league” doesn’t mean there isn’t a niche for another league entirely.
First, it’s important to clarify we aren’t talking any sort of rival to the LCS and its standard of play. Largely on the contrary. We’re talking about a league bringing something a bit different to its viewers.
The not so competitive
League of Legends as a game has grown significantly, meaning of course that the competitive stage has also gotten tougher. But all the while, other areas of League of Legends have grown right alongside it.
The entertainment side included.
Whether it’s Youtube videos or Twitch streams, League of Legends content has been massively popular for some time.
Players anywhere from former pros like IWillDominate (360,000 Youtube subscribers) and Imaqtpie (1,400,000 Youtube subscribers) to personalities like Tyler1 (710,000 Youtube subscribers) rake in hundreds of thousands of views in days and make their living entertaining their fanbases through (mostly) League of Legends. Sometimes trying their hardest to climb, sometimes not. Of course, some formerly so.
With numbers like these, it’s clear that there is plenty of fan support for the less than serious side of Summoner’s Rift. And also some for the nostalgic side.
In fact, you’ve seen it before.
While the NA CS has always had some solid viewership, it was certainly boosted by one unique team in 2017.
Delta Fox, Echo Fox’s NA CS team, formed as the “meme stream dream team.”
It included former TSM top laner Dyrus, former Dignitas mid laner Scarra, former Curse mid laner Voyboy, former Dignitas mid laner Shiphtur, and former Dignitas ad carry Imaqtpie. The team represented some of the most entertaining players in the game today, former professionals that were at the top level before as well. They joined to test their mettle after their competitive breaks.
The solo queue rust was real, but so was the viewership and entertainment for millions.
If one team like this can generate this much good, why not a whole league of it?
It’s not unprecedented
One of the biggest sports today is mma, and in the world of mma, the UFC represents a similar role to the NA LCS. But along with the UFC, and among other much smaller mma organizations, one particularly focused on entertainment has risen as another big fish.
That company is Bellator.
Bellator has a history of putting on fighters many would consider beyond their prime. This captures nostalgia viewers, curiosity of previous fans, and an entire different entertainment experience. Sometimes fights are trainwrecks ready to happen, sometimes it’s a technical battle. Instead of always watching the very top 3 fighters of any weight division in the world, you’ll likely be watching two great entertaining fighters from some level of the fighting world or society.
Bellator has grown enough to even sign disgruntled top 10 fights from the UFC. While this isn’t necessary for an alternative LCS to be successful, it shows that this kind of adaptation isn’t so crazy.
Will we see it?
When it comes down to it, the complications of getting so many content creators together that could probably make more focusing on their own fanbases is likely more trouble than its worth. But with any momentum, the potential is pretty damn high.
Until then, we just have to keep on hoping.
What do you think of alternative leagues in League of Legends? Let us know in the comments below!