What do we know about LCS? One of the big four, the progenitor of the League of Legends franchise and the best place for professional players


LCS, also known as LoL Championship Series, is a premium League of Legends tournament. The home of LCS is North America where the best teams in the world compete with each other. Every year there are two seasons (splits) LCS: spring and summer.

In the League of Legends community, LCS is called one of the big four. The prestigious league is equal to LCK (South Korea), LEC (Europe) and LPL and it gathers millions of spectators around the world and the teams and players have a huge fan base throughout the planet. And this is despite the constant memes regarding the level of teams participating in LCS compared to usually more fruitful teams from Europe, South Korea and China.

We suggest getting familiar with the history and talk about the period of when LCS emerged, discussing the teams that play there along with players and legionnaires who go to the US to gain fame and audience’s affection. League of Legends is popular there and Riot understands it. This is where the esports League of Legends was born.

History of LCS

The American region could be called the place of birth of the esports League of Legends. This is not a surprising fact as Riot Games is an American company, where else should a new chapter of the world esports should start.

The first tournament in the history of esports League of Legends under the aegis of Riot Games took place from 7 February till 28 April 2013 in Los Angeles. Then the championship was called NA LCS Spring 2023 and since then Riot have had tremendous plans for the future.

The winner of the debut event from Riot in North America was TSM. The title club won NA LCS Spring 2023 beating Good Game University at the final of the competition. The victory brought the team $50,000, and the events of such a scale became traditional.

By June 2013, North America hosted a new event under the aegis of LCS – NA LCS Summer 2013 where TSM were defeated by Cloud9 at the final battle. Esports was developing in League of Legends, more and more famous clubs were joining, and the popularity of the game was growing.

The first milestone of LCS was 2014. This is when Riot merged the region with the world ecosystem of League of Legends, giving the winner of NA LCS Spring a trip to All-Star 2014, and in the summer of the same year Riot allocated 3 slots at the Worlds 2014 for the best teams in the region. The teams from LCS had been playing at the world championships previously but they had never won a direct trip for the regional league.

The second key moment of development of the North American League of Legends happened in 2018 when NA LCS switched to the franchise model.

Without NA but with a changed structure, association of players and income distribution of the league

The announcement about LCS switching to the franchise model occurred in June 2017, and it was applied at NA LCS Spring 2018 becoming LCS Spring for future tournaments. The abolished name did not become the main change of the competitive League. The main updates entailed more meaning for players and clubs.

Changed structure

After LCS switched to the franchise model, the competitive stage of the American League of Legends got rid of extra settings. Then 10 partner teams took part in the competition having received this status after acceptance of their application.

Afterwards, clubs that wanted to leave LCS could sell their slot. The first ten teams that partnered with Riot were:

  • 100Thieves
  • Cloud9
  • Clutch Gaming
  • Counter Logic Gaming
  • Echo Fox
  • FlyQuest
  • Golden Guardians
  • OpTic Gaming
  • Team Liquid
  • TSM

Later LCS bidded farewell to Clutch Gaming, Echo Fox and OpTic Gaming. The first after restructuration were Dignitas, Echo Fox’s slot was taken by Evil Geniuses, and the slot of OpTic Gaming after merging with Immortals was cemented by the latter.

After the announcement of LCS switching to the franchise model, teams from other regions, especially Europe, wanted to become partners with Riot in North America. G2 and Fnatic sent applications but they were not accepted and soon Europe got their partner league – LEC. But this is a topic of another discussion.

Principle of income distribution

One of the main ways of attracting attention to LCS was a model of income distribution that is used in big sports, it gave guarantees to participants in the competition. This approach was revolutionary in esports.

Partners of LCS got a right for 32,5% of the income of the franchise. The half of the sum was distributed between participants early and the other half was distributed depending on the impact of the organization: the place the team stopped at when they season ended, the number of attracted spectators and other factors are considered.


Alongside, Riot raised the bar for earnings of LCS players. Now the minimum value was $75,000 a year.

Association of players

Aiming for high standards in esports, Riot founded an association of players for LCS contestants. The organization acts as a mediator in the negotiation between Riot, clubs and players.

The mechanism helps LCS players be more confident in the future and plan their career in advance.

Bar for the fee

A slot at LCS, as any other franchise league, comes with a fee. If a club matches Riot’s standards and is ready to make the American League of Legends great again, they will have to pay.

LCS participation fee is 10 million dollars.

LCS teams on the world League of Legends stage – returning NA LoL its former glory

Having become the progenitor of the franchise model of League of Legends and one of title regions, LCS got and gets places at the main tournament of the discipline while North American teams are frequent visitors there. The USA is a typical venue of LCS and four Worlds, however, American clubs could not brag about their exceptional results there.

The most significant tournament of the region was the first World Championship, Season One Championship, happening from 18 till 20 June in Stockholm. Then the next LCS representatives got from 3 till 5 place: TSM got bronze, Epik Gamer took fourth place, and CLG ended Top-5.

Year by year while competition was growing, the results of Americans did not improve. In 2012, TSM were in Top-8, in 2013 Cloud9 changed them in the position of the best LCS team: C9 got into Top-8 at the Worlds 2013 and the Worlds 2014. In 2015, they finished lower – Cloud9 finished in Top-9-11, but at the World Championship 2016 again climbed to Top-8.

Cloud9 has deserved the right to be called the best LCS team in the history of the league. C9 kept on performing in a stable way and got to Top-5-8 at the Worlds 2017 and Top-3-4 at the Worlds 2018.

The worst world championship for LCS was 2022. The home tournament was a complete disaster for local teams. None of the three American teams did not make it to the group stage and the best result belonged to EG who took Top-11-14.

What’s the result?

LCS is one of the example of the structure of the league that deserves to be copied. Riot Games managed to make a high-quality product in different verticals. LCS is about players’ comfort along with the show for the audience.

To exemplify, North American teams are able to attract the best players in the world thanks to outstanding conditions in the region. It has been reported that LCS residents negotiate with the legendary Faker, and recently Pyosik, the champion of the Worlds 2022 from DRX joined. too.

In the summer 2022, matches of LCS Summer collected 19,064,764 millions of watching hours with 165 streaming hours. The peak quantity of spectators of the North American league was 370 thousand and the average number was 115 thousand users.

LCS is worth your attention. The new season is coming. Cloud9’s attempts to become the best team again is around the corner.

LCS is created by thousands.


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