The LCS experimented with its broadcast strategy yesterday by adding an element of live team comms to each game, bringing input from the players directly into the flow of each on-stage match. On occasion, broadcasters would cut away from the play-by-play to show in-game replay segments that were supplemented with played-back comms from the players. 

And while the sample size may still be too small to make any clear judgments, it’s safe to say that the introduction of player comms to the broadcast had no negative effect on the LCS’ viewership numbers. 

This summer, the LCS has averaged approximately 80,000 concurrent viewers across all of its broadcasting platforms, a number the broadcast hit yesterday, according to esports viewership data tracking site EsportsCharts. The average viewership for LCS games on Aug. 7 “was almost identical to week six, day two,” according to a statement provided to Dot Esports by EsportsCharts. 

Live comms were introduced to the broadcast during the first game yesterday between FlyQuest and CLG. Following pivotal moments in that game, including a late-game teamfight near the Baron pit, the game’s casters swung to a replay that featured players discussing strategies. 

And while there’s not nearly enough of a sample to confirm whether the addition of live comms will get more eyes on the LCS broadcast, the change is a step in the right direction. Live player look-ins added a sense of life to the LCS broadcast, giving League of Legends fans a direct chance to get inside the mind of a pro while they’re playing on stage. The North American scene made a similar effort to provide fans with a closer look into pro players’ competitive sides through the introduction of Champions Queue earlier this year. Many Champions Queue games are streamed live on Twitch, allowing fans to directly observe how pro players interact with each other when playing serious competitive games. 

This season, the LCS has made a conscious effort to market its players to a further extent during games and broadcasts. Player interviews will occasionally be shown during the early portions of games, while players also make regular appearances on the analyst desk. Two weeks ago, the LCS began featuring pro players in the casters’ booth, starting with former TSM top laner Huni. Since then, Cloud9 top laner Fudge and 100 Thieves jungler Closer have cast games as well. 

The LCS will broadcast its most complete slate of games next weekend when 15 games will be played over the course of a “superweek,” meaning there will be three full days of games for North American League fans to watch. The first week of the Summer Split was also a superweek and it played host to some of the most-viewed games of the split, including the first matchup of the split between Cloud9 and Team Liquid, which brought in over 141,000 viewers at its peak, according to EsportsCharts

The LCS will return to action on Friday, Aug. 12 with a matchup between Liquid and Dignitas.