League of Legends developer Riot Games has announced that their North American League of Legends Championship Series matches will be taking place earlier on Sundays, starting from February 18, this being due to a number of reasons, a lot of which have to do with the EU tournament.
"With the shift back to Bo1 this year, EU LCS decided to play half of their games on Saturday, which posed a challenge for fans of both broadcasts - if NA LCS continued to start at noon PT on Saturdays, a large group of fans would have to choose between NA LCS and EU LCS, because the latter half of EU LCS would have overlapped with NA LCS," the post reads. "In an attempt to avoid that situation, we decided to push our start time to later in the day. We knew we wanted to cut the potential gap as narrowly as possible to minimize downtime between broadcasts for fans watching both, as well as to prevent the show from running any later than necessary. We also hoped to explore new handoffs from the EU broadcast directly to NA on Saturdays, providing a touchpoint for fans of both leagues. All of these inputs led us to decide on a 2:00 PM PT start time for Saturday."
"Having seen experiments in several regions with staggered start times across the week, we knew that it could have detrimental effects on viewership. And given our several years of consistency between Saturday and Sunday start times in NA, we believed it to be important to maintain the same time on both days, even if it was a new time. As such, we decided to move Sunday to 2:00 as well, despite the lack of overlap from the EU broadcast."
The decision to change the time was made after looking at the data coming in for the start of the season, and Riot noticed that the drop-off in viewership was more extreme on Sunday, as fans that were in Europe could stay up later to watch matches on a Saturday but not on a Sunday (due to school or work the next day). Moving the start times forward, then, could gain more of an audience, but the developer makes clear they still don't want to overlap with the EU side of things.
For more details on the reasons behind the move, check out the official announcement. Do you like this change in timing?