Last week 18 League of Legends Championship Series team owners sent Riot a letter regarding franchising and the overall league. The letter was leaked by Slingshot eSports and as we all assumed, all hell broke loose. That’s not to say their points weren’t valid, but the leak put pressure on Riot Games, and you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you. Now, it seems Riot may want to cut ties with some of the team owners, stating that they may not be “desirable long-term partners.” (via eSports Observer)
Since Riot Games has started attracting a lot of outside exposure from brands not directly related to eSports, the long-term fear that owners have had is that Riot want to make the LCS a closed system. This is a rational fear, backed up by Riot’s response – due to the number of traditional sporting teams showing interest in League of Legends, thus pushing for a more closed league system. It’s rather unfortunate as many team owners simply wanted a better structure within the league and some form of financial backing for their players. This has now backfired in someway as Riot are not pleased.
The push for more traditional sporting teams to be included within in the league has the overall goal of making it more professional. Up until now a lot of teams have been created by passionate players or former players with the ambition of making it big. These teams secured their own financial backing, and built their own relationships with brands. Unfortunately for them, traditional sporting teams comes from a rich history of dealing with these systems, and that’s going to be damaging for a number of teams who cannot match that.
The shift towards a closed system is also rather risky for Riot as it may start to exclude a number of teams who were there from the start – those who helped shape the current system. This might not sit well with fans, and whether they will support a closed system controlled by traditional teams is up for debate.
We’re still awaiting Riot’s official response to the letter, for now we can only hope they don’t start axing teams.
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Last Updated: November 16, 2016