On Jan. 17, multiple organizations affiliated with the LCK collectively announced a Joint Statement for a Sustainable LCK. The purpose is to openly disclose the structural problems and difficulties currently faced by LCK teams and to urge changes in the LCK league.
In the statement, the teams explained, "Over the past three years, we have requested changes to the LCK league corporation for the sustainability of the league. However, we have reached a situation that cannot be resolved amicably. Therefore, we discussed about publicly disclosing structural problems and difficulties, and the majority of the teams approved."
They continued, "Despite continuous growth since the inception of the LCK league, the LCK league corporation has not increased the league's business value over the past three years. The revenue distribution for teams has been decreasing every year, and the revenue target proposed has never been achieved. Additionally, the distribution is significantly lower compared to other major regional leagues."
According to the press release provided by the gaming teams, the cumulative deficit of 10 teams in the three years since the launch of the 2020 LCK franchise is over 100 billion KRW (approx. 74M USD). In contrast, the average annual revenue distribution per team over the three years was about 800 million KRW (approx. 600K USD).
Furthermore, the gaming teams stated that the LCK league corporation has not sufficiently shared or convinced the league partners, i.e., the teams, of specific visions and plans to improve the current situation. Instead, it is causing concerns about investment reduction.
"The continuous occurrence of situations where players cannot train properly, such as delays in providing competition server for practice matches and frequent client errors, is happening. LCK league corporation's dedicated personnel are continually leaving for other departments, causing practical and essential tasks for the league's growth to be delayed or suspended," explained the teams.
Through the joint statement, the gaming teams demanded specific answers from the LCK league corporation on five issues: ▲ Expansion of investment in LCK dedicated personnel and sharing of commissioner authority ▲ Rational improvement of the league business structure, including revenue distribution ▲ Resolution of the significantly lower number of LCK annual matches compared to other pro sports ▲ Resolution of in-game functional issues for improving training environments ▲ Planning and execution of a scalable business model associated with the League of Legends IP.
Finally, the teams stated, "Thus far, the LCK league corporation has consistently delivered Riot's policies unilaterally, and we have been warned of potential disciplinary actions in the final negotiations if we continue to present a joint voice. The existence of the 10 teams is being threatened. We hope that the LCK league corporation and Riot understand the difficulties the teams are facing and engage in genuine discussions to maintain the league ecosystem."
Regarding this joint statement, an LCK league official stated that they are "currently confirming the details."