The initial evaluation of the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) franchising has been concluded and delivered to the applicants. As expected, it was said that most of the 21 companies that applied for the franchising have passed the initial evaluation, though Riot Games did not specify which succeeded and which failed.
The second evaluation based on a presentation will commence this week. The applicants will deliver a presentation about team management, marketing, and their future visions to Riot Games. In regards to this second evaluation period, Riot officials pointed out that "it will be very important for the companies to appeal their unique strengths and advantages”.
Riot Games had previously said that they will prioritize how the companies could emphasize the nature of esports while improving the competitiveness of the LCK and giving the fans more to enjoy.
LCK is the last of the four major regions (LCK, LEC, LCS, and LPL) to adopt a permanent partnership program, which is supposed to come in effect with the 2021 Spring Split. Similar to how American traditional sports leagues operate, Riot's goal with franchising its big leagues is to provide financial stability to the partnered orgs, by providing revenue sharing programs, and eliminating the uncertainty of relegation. LPL was the first region to adopt the format with the 2017 Summer Split, followed closely by NA LCS (now LCS) with 2018 Spring, and then EU LCS (now LEC) with 2019 Spring.
As part of its franchising, LCK will also raise the minimum player salary to 60M KRW (approx. $50,000, or triple to what it is at the moment). In addition, esports orgs that are almost certainly guaranteed to be in the franchised LCK such as the storied T1, have announced new health insurance programs for its players, such as "Faker's Right-Hand Insurance" for ace players.
The final teams for the franchising will be decided and announced at the end of September.
Updated 7/29 : Gamer Republic Inc. announced on their Facebook page that they've been declined in the first evaluation. The remaining candidates are hyFresh Blade, Element Mystic, SANDBOX Gaming, Jin Air Green Wings, Awesome Spear, Afreeca Freecs, Runaway, DAMWON Gaming, SeolHaeOne Prince, OZ Gaming, kt Rolster, Team Dynamics, Hanwha Life Esports, ESC Shane, DRX, Gen.G, T1, World Game Star, and WDG. It is not yet known which other teams didn't make the first cut.