LCS Announces BMG Partnership, Confirms No Import Rule Changes – The Esports Observer

Ahead of its 2021 Summer Split, Riot Games’ LCS made several announcements including a new partnership with music label BMG. Select artists from the label will have their music incorporated into broadcasts and content related to the league. The LCS also announced that players and broadcast talent would return to the studio in-person for competition this weekend. Teams and talent came together for the Mid-Season Showdown tournament finals in April, but were remote for the full duration of the regular Spring Split.

In addition to a new partner, Riot also announced the launch of a revamped Pro View product. Pro View allows LCS fans to select a specific player in a given LCS match and watch the entire contest from their perspective. The product offers limited options for free, with a $6.99 monthly subscription to gain access to all 10 individual player streams per match. Pro View was discontinued during the 2020 Spring Split due to technical limitations with the move to online competition.

Finally, in response to a media question, interim Commissioner Chris Greely stated in no uncertain terms that the LCS would not be making changes to or repealing its import rule, which requires that teams field at least three players that are considered residents of their local region. There was a great deal of discussion surrounding the rule in recent months with some team owners calling for its removal in an effort to increase the available talent pool for the LCS. 

This was met with significant opposition from both players and fans as it would likely create teams representing North America which are composed entirely of native Chinese and South Korean players, who would then play against other Chinese and South Korean players at the game’s annual World Championship. Greely stated that the import rule “is a global rule that holds up a complex system,” further clarifying that any future changes to import restrictions would be made by the global Riot Games esports team rather than the LCS itself. He went on to state that “the LCS is not advocating for the repeal of the rule.”

Notably, the LCS did receive some assistance in its import struggles at the end of 2020 with the dissolution of Riot’s Oceanic Pro League. As of the start of the 2021 season, all players from the Oceanic region are now considered North American residents, which has opened up additional import slots for teams like Cloud9 which currently field starting players from that region.

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