You may recall that just a couple of days ago, the South Korean LCK League of Legends league received a major overhaul and rebranding. However, it is not the only big league in top level LoL esports to have been rebranded ahead of the forthcoming season with the announcement that the North American LCS is also set for a fresh new look.
With League of Legends esports betting enthusiasts already looking forward to the start of the new 2021 season in the shape of the new LCS Lock In (which starts on January 15 and runs through to January 31) ahead of the start of the brand new league season, this new announcement heralds a change in direction and focus for the league.
Tough Period for the LCS
In what has been a tough period for the LCS, there have been a number of top players retiring from teams in the tournament such as Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Yolliang “Doublelift” Peng. As such, the tournament organisers wanted a fresh new look for the competition and this rebrand is a major part of that initiative.
Instead of older, more established stars, Rookie players that made a name for themselves last season are very much to the fore with players like Team SoloMid Migyi “Spica” Yu, 100 Thieves Victor “FBI” Huang and Rookie of the Year in 2020 Edward “Tactical” Ra very much at the forefront of the campaign.
As well as a rebranded logo, Riot Games has issued a rallying call to fans that it wants to “start fresh” with the rebrand. This includes two new mottos for the league “Made by Many” and “All for the Game”.
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) January 5, 2021
Split from the Spring Split?
The rebrand is the latest in a number of moves by Riot Games that are seen as being an attempt by the company to usher in a new era for League of Legends in North America. Back in November, there were reports that Riot were set to do away with the current format of Spring Split/Summer Split for the season and instead run a single, longer season with each team playing the other team five times over the course of the year.
The LCS team that represents the league in the Mid Season Invitational would be selected from a special mid-season playoff event featuring the top six teams at that point of the season.
The proposed new season would see LCS teams play around 45 matches across 30 games weeks of the season with games taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week.
The reports were given credence as they also reported a ‘preseason tournament’ which is precisely what the LCS Lock In scheduled to start on January 15 is designed to be.
Wallpapering over the cracks?
Critics of the rebrand have said that while the new look and change in focus and structure of the LCS are welcome, they don’t really address the issues that have beset the league in recent times.
Complaints about the production of the league and its overall narrative have not been addressed. In a sense, are Riot Games simply wallpapering over the cracks to try and fool people?
Not according to LCS Commissioner Chris Greeley who commented,
“We came up with this rebrand project back in the 2019 offseason. The main focus for us was to rebuild an identity that reaches all the facets across the LCS, from content to broadcast production to how we interact with fans and the community, etc.”
“After the retirement of Bjergsen and Doublelift, the rebranding comes at a perfect time. This is an inflection point, and with the retirement of stars like Bjergsen, Doublelift or Sneaky last year, the rebrand serves as a great launching point to build new heroes and stars for the league.”
While the fresh new look and structure for the LCS does promise something different, without addressing some of the issues that have dogged the league in recent years, there is a danger that fans will quickly realise that the changes are mostly cosmetic.
It is up to Riot Games to show them that this is not just a rebrand, but a rebirth for a new and dynamic LCS moving forward.