League of Legends

TL and GCU share how NA LCS franchising already promoted investment in the region




NA LCS's permanent partnership announcement was rumored for some time, but the scope and impact of the announcement - including miminum player salary of 75,000 USD and franchising fee of 10 million USD - were more severe than expected. Although the plan was announced with understanding of organizations, the franchsisng fee was still significant, and not acknowledging organizations in NACS in the announcement left some questions unanswered.

We've asked Steve "LiQuiD112" Arhancet, the co-owner of Team Liquid, and Yoonsub "Locodoco" Choi, the head coach of Gold Coin United, for opinion on the fundamental changes that will happen with NA LCS. They were positive about the changes that permanent partnerships will bring even with the substantial franchising fee of 10 million USD.

In fact, Team Liquid were willing to make "significant" investments to team infrastructure, now that relegations will no longer exist.

"With hopes of our application being accepted by Riot and our participation in the franchise - we will make massive investments into our infrastructure; now that we know those investments are in a sustainable system. Our consideration to create a league of legends training complex, our own internal training grounds, invest further into staff, content creation and our plays has been held back by the fear of relegation."

Steve also suggested how 10 million USD franchising fee could even be 'underpriced' for NA LCS, in order to attract more partners who are serious about the improvement of NA LCS rather than who are willing to pay more.

"I feel strongly that the spots could have been sold for substantially more... It's my opinion that Riot cares more about the types of partners they select over the financial benefit from the sale of the spots."

This might be the reason why organizations currently in Challengers league also have made significant investments on their roster and infrastucture. Yoonsub Choi shared how GCU is gearing up for the new phase of NA LCS operation.

"We have plans to form a partnership with existing traditional sports organization, and not just for financial reasons, but to promote lateral growth with help from more experienced sports organizations."

He went on to explain how the trend is not just limited to his team even among the Challengers teams:

"Other Challenger teams are also making significant investment on their roster and infrastructure. Without a plan to pay for franchising fee, the teams wouldn't have invested deeply into teams."

Even the new Delta Fox - affectionately known as 'The Meme Team' - would help the North American league as a whole.

"I thought they were not taking the league seriously at first, but their effect on the Challengers Series proved otherwise. Also, with more attention on NACS than ever, more fans will be able to see how there are strong teams in NACS and how we deserve to have a fanbase and popular players."

Franchising of NA LCS will start from 2018, but the changes are already happening: The organizations have started to prepare for the changes by making strategic and financial partnerships, more effort into finding better players and promoting lateral growth.



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