The LCK will follow in LPL's footsteps in implementing a salary cap. According to multiple sources, the LCK and its 10 teams have been in ongoing discussions and have come to an agreement to implement a salary cap in the LCK. The decision was reportedly driven by the proactive efforts of the teams. However, the specifics of how and when it will be implemented have yet to be determined.
This development comes after reports last year that LCK teams were pushing for a salary cap, and that T1 strongly opposed. At the time, LCK said that some teams mentioned the necessity of a salary cap, but there were no specific discussions.
However, with the skyrocketing values of player salaries, there has been a shift in opinion. Before, most worried that it could cause players to go abroad and that the LCK’s competitiveness would be sacrificed, but now, the opinion shifted toward the need for a solution to prevent excessive wage inflation.
Although the issue of excessive spending may not be limited to player salaries, nearly every organization is operating in the red every year. At the last stove league, some officials expressed the uneasy state of the esports market in direct terms: frozen markets, closed wallets, etc.
Even T1, one of the most popular teams globally, has reported losses in its recent financial statements. According to SK Telecom's 2022 audit report, T1 recorded an operating loss of approximately 166 billion KRW (140 million USD). Although the loss decreased from the previous year’s 211 billion KRW (178 million USD), it’s still a significant negative figure.
One authority mentioned the possibility of having to disclose the players’ salaries publicly, as most professional sports leagues in Korea that have salary caps also disclose their players' salaries publicly, which is for increased transparency.
In response to Inven's inquiry about the salary cap, LCK said, "We have been discussing various options with our teams from time to time to ensure the sustainable growth of LCK, but there is nothing we can confirm at this time."