Evil Geniuses, Golden Guardians Out of LCS 2024 as League Downsizes
On 20th November, League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) of North America (NA) released a statement about the plans for 2024 and beyond. The president of esports at Riot Games, Josh Needham noted that Riot spoke with all LCS partnered teams last week to convey its commitment to the League of Legends esports ecosystem in North America and also explain its plans to reshape the league.
The biggest change to the LCS moving forward in 2024 is that it will be an eight-team league, as opposed to the usual ten team system. The statement further revealed that Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians will no longer be part of the LCS ecosystem in 2024.
Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians Exit LCS, Riot Games Says Decision 'Mutual'
In the statement that was posted on social media channels, Needham mentioned that the decision was "mutual" between the teams (Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians) and the league.
Explaining this move, Needham added, "This change will allow us to be much more flexible as we prepare to restructure the league for future success. We made this change prior to free agency that begins today to allow impacted players the ability to pursue opportunities with other teams or leagues.”
Notably, Riot Games also thanked both Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses for all the memorable moments that they have created and shared in the LCS over the years.
Needham said that Riot Games cannot disclose additional details at this time but promised to do so as soon and as often as possible. The full and long-term global strategy for the LCS and League of Legends esports will be outlined in early 2024, according to the statement.
Evil Geniuses & Golden Guardians Make Official Statements
Soon after Riot Games' official statement, Evil Geniuses confirmed the same and noted that it will be stepping away from the LCS heading into 2024. It thanked all the players, staff, and fans and added, "While we will not be competing in League of Legends going forward, we will continue as fans from afar and are actively working on finding homes or next steps with our current players, combine talent, and staff to see that they have a prosperous future in the League of Legends ecosystem."
Meanwhile, Golden Guardians said it was grateful for the contributions of its players and coaches, and wished them the best of luck. Interestingly, in its statement, the organization said, "Given Riot Games decision to shift the LCS from a 10-team league to an 8-team league, we have made the difficult decision to exit League of Legends."
Notably, Evil Geniuses made its re-entry into the LCS in 2020 after it was acquired by PEAK6 Investments in 2019, which bought out the Echo Fox spot in LCS. On the other hand, Golden Guardians entered LCS as one of the four new teams in the franchising era. The organization is owned by the NBA franchise of Golden State Warriors.
LCSPA Slams Riot Games Over LCS Downsizing
The League of Legends Championship Series Players Association (LCSPA) slammed Riot Games for its surprise decision to reduce the LCS to eight teams. In a statement, the LCSPA said that it was informed by Riot Games, behind the scenes last week, about the decision to downsize the league.
It said, "The sudden loss of jobs harms our members. For a second time this year, Riot and teams have left players out of the decision-making process and left players out to dry because of organizational mismanagement and 11th hour decision-making."
The LCSPA lobbied that the released players and players who are having verbal agreements not honored will not have a fair opportunity to seek work elsewhere since most organizations have completed their rosters for 2024.
It also stated that removing struggling organizations instead of replacing them can be a step towards a better, more open LCS in the future. "Only when players have their voices fully heard, can we all build a better future for the LCS than what franchising has delivered so far," it further added.