Where the COVID-19 has pretty much put a full stop to traditional sports seasons including the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and various NCAA events, esports has had a unique opportunity to rise to the occasion. And rise they have. This coming two weekends League of Legends North American competitive league LCS is set to enter into its Spring playoffs and championship, and for the first time ever, it will air live on ESPN TV channels.
ESPN and Riot Games announced their partnership and the upcoming LCS Playoff schedule and broadcast via an article on ESPN’s website on April 8, 2020. According to the upcoming schedule, the LCS Spring Playoffs will kick off today on the ESPN App with a match between Team SoloMid and 100 Thieves at 1PM PT / 4PM ET. From there on, matches on April 11, April 12, April 18, and April 19, 2020 will take place live on ESPN2.
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) April 8, 2020
The full schedule of matches as they are now can be seen just below.
April 8 – 4PM ET: Match 4 – 100 Thieves vs. TSM (ESPN App)
April 11 – 4PM ET: Evil Geniuses vs. Cloud9 (ESPN2)
April 12 – 4PM ET: Flyquest vs. Winner Match 4 (ESPN2)
April 18 – 4PM: Third Place Decision Match (ESPN2)
April 19 – TBD: LCS Spring Split Championship (ESPN2)
As ESPN points out, this is not the first time League of Legends has appeared on ESPN programming, having shown up on the ESPN App and ESPN+ in the past. However, it is the first time League of Legends has appeared on ESPN traditional television programming.
With League of Legends having shifted to online matches earlier in this season and other esports like Call of Duty League and Overwatch League having followed suit, it continues to be a big opportunity for esports to shine where traditional sporting events simply cannot proceed as planned in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic.