Riot Games reboot NA LCS, will implement team Franchising starting this 2018
Things are starting to undergo a major change for the North American League of Legends Championship Series.
Team Franchising in Esports has always been the subject of major debate among analysts, managers, and personalities, and has made major news with Blizzard’s previous announcement of implementing franchising for their upcoming Overwatch League, which, well, may start anytime soon? Just recently, Team Franchising is making major news again, this time, from the established Esports giant, Riot Games and their main title, League of Legends, by way of the North American League of Legends Championship Series as Riot now plans to implement team Franchising for the 2018 season.
According to their detailed announcement, Riot points out 3 reasons as to why they want to go for Franchising in NA LCS that being:
- Changing the structure of the league to encourage long-term investments
- Sharing league revenue to provide a better foundation for teams and pros
- Giving pros a larger voice and better protections
Together with the announcement of implementing the new Franchising structure, information regarding Franchise applications are also being detailed, which means that the current LCS participants might possibly be wiped clean unless these current organizations plan to remain as members through Franchise application of course, and speaking of application, a report by Bloomberg suggests that the Franchise buy-in fee sits at around USD 10 Million for existing LCS organizations, and the newer ones to sit at around USD 13 Million.
But what do organizations get in return if they franchise? Well for one, Riot cites Revenue Sharing when it comes to sales of Digital Goods, team-based Merchandise, Sponsorships and Media deals together with the increased in player salaries. But perhaps, for players, the most interesting part is the support for creating a Player Association which Riot themselves will be funding as to give voice to player financial and legal concerns.
Although it is a very interesting prospect, perhaps some of the biggest questions now would be in regards to the current teams participating in the NA LCS if they agree and continue to participate in the tournament given the supposed price ceiling for the Franchise buy-in fees and what would happen to players of organizations who may opt out of the Franchising concept. Still, there’s about half a year and, give or take, a few months to go before the 2018 season starts and hopefully Riot, together with the current organizations participating in the NA LCS will each voice out their sides in regards to this new big change in pro League of Legends.