UPDATE 4/11: Yesterday's match between Team Liquid and TSM, as well as TL's upcoming finals match against Cloud9, have been played offline at the Greek Theatre, and alongside the teams, the analysts have been brought onto the 'desk' in person to join Dash. Color caster Isaac "Azael" Cummings Bentley posted a photo of himself and his co-caster Clayton "CaptainFlowers" Raines also in studio to cast the final between TL and C9.
Following the seventh week of the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split, Riot Games moved the LCS to a fully online format as a safety measure following the global outbreak of COVID-19.
Riot was able to take proper precautions to have a COVID-safe offline event for the 2020 League of Legends World Championship in Shanghai, but in China and everywhere else, domestic leagues have had difficulty in consistently re-establishing an offline event with audiences in attendance. However, with the COVID-19 vaccine finally made available, the world is slowly re-opening up, and with it, the LCS has taken its cautious first steps back towards offline events.
The first round of the 2021 LCS Mid-Season Showdown took place last weekend and featured the first 'in-house' broadcast for the league in over a year. For safety, host and caster James "Dash" Patterson ran a one-man show in the new LCS studio that featured a jumbotron-like media panel for the analysts to participate remotely as the broadcast was produced in the 2021 LCS Spring Split.
During the broadcast, Dash confirmed that the analysts would be joining him in the studio as soon as it was deemed safe. In addition, the three teams competing in the final pair of matches of the LCS Mid-Season Showdown will be able to compete offline for the first time since spring 2020 on April 10th and April 11th. To abide by gathering event will not feature audience, but the competition will be hosted at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.
In terms of progress, the LCS is still slightly behind the League of Legends European Championship, who will return to a fully offline competition for the 2021 LEC Spring Playoffs, but after a global shutdown that has lasted over a calendar year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, any steps towards progress are worthy of celebration.
All images by: Riot Games