The news about Immortals being rejected from joining the NA LCS franchise is going viral amongst Korean fans.
According to ESPN, The teams affiliated with the NA LCS - Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming, Team SoloMid, and Echo Fox - have been approved to join the franchise, but Phoenix1, Team Dignitas, Team Envy, and Immortals were rejected. Meanwhile, the result for FlyQuest is currently unknown.
The press suggests that the reason Immortals was rejected was due to their excessive investment in the LA hometown team of the Overwatch league. The press also informed readers that, through the latter update, Riot showed their concerns regarding Immortals’ financial status. In reference to this, Noah Whinston, the CEO at Immortals, said that “We do not operate at a different financial structure than other esports teams in the industry”
The Korean community was also heated, sharing stories and discussions about the news that the second place team from the last Summer Split won’t be able to show up in the next season.
Some say that the decision is too much, assuming what ESPN stated is true - it was a reprisal move for the Immortals’ large investment in other e-Sports with LA as a hometown, the fundamental base of the NA LCS. Some are concerned about Riot’s attempt to dominate the market, bringing up past cases as evidence for worry - the abrogation of the brother team system, and a controversy surrounding LCK’s separate broadcasting.
On the other hand, as Travis commented on a video, there are others who empathize with the Immortals’ move, believing that it was a necessary action if their financial status is worse than imagined. Immortals is currently investing large capital in the Overwatch league, and recently purchased a Dota 2 team, widening their pool of events. However, people have pointed out that it is still insufficient in terms of sponsors and business returns compared to Team SoloMid or Cloud9.
In relation to this matter, others say that it is difficult for Riot to comfortably associate with a financially unstable club when individual teams are becoming equal partners on the same level. This was brought about when the LCS was changed from the subordinate system of Riot to the franchise model. Some also added that Riot has no reason to bear the risk of financial instability after Immortals’ results this year.
As the released information relating to the NA LCS franchise is solely from the mass media, some of the community have warned others not to jump to conclusions and wait for Riot to release an official statement regarding this matter.
The community is also noted the fact that all the rejected teams are actively recruiting and using Korean mercenaries. Many fans are actively discussing what will happen to the remaining players when these teams end up unable to participate in the NA LCS.