$10 Million Is The Price For Teams To Join Revamped League Of Legends Tournament
League of Legends pro play is changing in a big way in North America.
League of Legends is one of the biggest games for pro play in the world, and some major changes for the North American League Championship Series were announced today.
In essence, the LCS is changing its structure to become something that will more closely resemble the massive traditional sports leagues like the NBA or NFL. Under the new LCS structure, there will be 10 teams that are always in the mix, instead of squads that rotate.
An outline of the new structure is available on the Riot Games website, but one detail not on that page is the buy-in price for teams. Riot told Yahoo Esports (via Kotaku) that the figure is $10 million. Additionally, players on the 10 selected teams get a guaranteed salary of at least $75,000.
The LCS started in 2013, and these changes will go into effect for the next competitive season, starting in 2018.
Riot said its end goal is to "create a strong and stable system that's profitable for pro players and provides entertainment for fans in the long term." There are three major pillars of the changes, including revenue-sharing, protecting and supporting pro players (with a players' association and more), and changes to the structure to encourage long-term investments.
Revenue-sharing could be huge for the selected teams, as Riot signed a $50 million deal with Major League Baseball last year. Under the new structure, pro teams can receive a 32.5 percent share of league revenues, divided between the teams. Half of the funds will go directly to the teams, while the other half will be divided based on how the teams finish and what they are able to achieve in terms of viewership and fan engagement.
Once the 10 teams are determined (after paying the fee and getting approved), they are in the league for good. So with no risk of getting removed from the league, will that lead to a drop-off in competitive play? Hopefully not, Riot says, explaining that it will offer incentives to teams that play well and penalise the squads that purposefully stay at the bottom of the ladder.
Applications for the new LCS opened today, with applications closing on July 14. Riot will provide an update on the specifics of the players' association in August, and the final roster of teams will be announced in November.
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In May, a report claimed that the new Overwatch pro gaming league was struggling to get started in part because of a $20 million buy-in fee. Blizzard responded by saying people should be wary of those who "deliberately spread misinformation as bargaining tactics or for other competitive reasons."
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