A couple of days ago it was revealed that any pro players taking part in the League of Legends 2014 Championship Series would be contractually obliged to not stream competitive games. Only League of Legends would be permitted which was more than a bit harsh and heavy-handed.
Today RIOT has made a massive u-turn and decided to amend their policies. A statement posted on Reddit reads:
There’s been a ton of discussion around our LCS team contracts, which stipulated active LCS players couldn’t stream a variety of other games.
First, background on why we did this: there’ve been instances of other game studios trying to buy access to League fans by using (or trying to use) LCS teams/players to promote their competing games on stream.
The way we chose to deal with this was clearly an overreach. It hit our goal of preventing companies from advertising through LCS players, but it also encroached on pros’ ability to have fun and entertain viewers during long Challenger queues – and we realize that’s not cool.
After reading all of your comments and having a LOT of internal debate over the last 24 hours, we’re going to be changing the LCS team requirement to something that more closely matches our intent. While under contract to the LCS, teams and players can’t accept sponsorship from other game companies to promote other titles. Besides that, they are free to stream any games they want.
I’ll be hanging around to answer questions if you guys have any. Thanks for helping us make a better decision on this.
RIOT Games are obviously trying to take eSports seriously and at the same time push the limits of what would be acceptable to the League of Legends community. It looks like they just pushed too far with the streaming restrictions and the statement above does read as some tasty PR bullshit so as not to lose face.
Having angered the community over this issue it’s easy to point the finger at other companies when this can’t really be proved to be a massive problem. Stipulating a restriction on sponsorship does sound a more sensible option and was probably their first thought when trying to address any issues concerning teams.
I’m sure RIOT would prefer to stop pros in the LCS steaming ANY other game so it was probably worth them taking a punt to see how players would respond.