After considerable whispering and speculation since China introduced franchising to their professional League of Legends league, the LPL, the change has official made it over to North America. Riot has revealed that, beginning with the 2018 professional season, the NA LCS will undergo some significant changes, including the elimination of a promotional tournament and the installment of teams as permanent partners.
League of Legends NA LCS 2018
The announcement from Riot comes threefold, and looks to have some serious ramifications on one of the most popular esports in North America. First, Riot is changing the structure of the NA LCS to create more stability for investors. Participating teams in the esports league will now be permanent partners in the NA LCS. This means it will no longer be possible for them to lose their spot via relegation at the end of a Split. That opens up opportunities for long term investments, both from outside investors looking to invest in the organizations, and from the organizations in terms of staff and facilities. Not to mention it’ll be better for the health of some of the CEOs.
I’m going to have a heart attack.
— Steve Arhancet (@LiQuiD112) April 1, 2017
Second, Riot will be sharing revenues with the partnered teams, as well as with the players directly. They also note that they’re raising the minimum salary for an LCS player in NA to $75,000, to make it a viable career for anybody with the talent to make it into the professional league, regardless of star power.
Third, they’re creating a Players’ Association, in order to protect, inform, and advocate for the individual players in the NA LCS. Players will vote on representatives to form the PA, and starting next spring, the organization will offer all sorts of resources to League of Legends esports pros in North America.
Today marks the opening of the application period for teams and organizations to become an NA LCS partner. The application period runs through July 14th. Riot’s timeline also includes an August update on the Players’ Association, and partners will be announced in or around November. For all the details that exist at the moment, head to their official site.