The LCS Players Association is taking a step towards sustainability and independence in launching a commercial Group Rights program in association with OneTeam Partners. The program and partnership will establish a passive revenue stream for players as well as provide a sustainable and independent operating budget for the Players Association to continue to grow the scope of its work on behalf of players.
A Group Rights deal is where a group of people agree that any commercial agreement involving a portion or all of the league’s players must be negotiated collectively through their chosen partner. These deals almost entirely use passive Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights to ensure players get appropriate compensation when a trading card, sports video game, or fantasy sport is put together using their personal information or likeness.
The LCS Players Association leadership consists of Phil Aram, Jason Docton, Ryan Fairchild, Lauren Gaba Flanagan, Brian Tran, and former professional jungler Stephen "Snoopeh" Ellis, in addition to five current active LCS and/or LCS Academy players.
Cloud9 Academy top laner Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya, Team Liquid support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in, Team Liquid mid laner Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg, Evil Geniuses support Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme, and Immortals top laner Mo "Revenge" Kaddoura are also members of the LCSPA board, which is included in the leadership group.
When the LCSPA was founded as the NALCSPA in 2017, its potential impact on the ecosystem was questioned due to its creation and funding by Riot Games. The primary argument was that the Players Association could not function like a proper union for professional players when the creation and funding of said union is from the creator and organizer of the LCS. In partnering with TeamOne Partners, an organization formed by the MLBPA and the NHLPA, LCS is hoping to follow that model.