Despite recent rumors and hopes that the NA LCS would either shrink to 8 teams or expand to 12 teams with franchising, Riot today has confirmed that neither will be the case.
"While we are still working out what the NA LCS will look like in 2018, we do know that it will be made up of 10 teams," Riot shared in an update. "While we considered contracting to 8 teams or expanding to 12, neither felt like the right decision."
The reason for that decision lies partly in the current NA talent pool, as well as the opinions of the league's own players.
"We believe the esports ecosystem in North America has ample pro talent to support 10 teams and that contracting further would unnecessarily limit opportunities for talented pros," the update continues. "However, to expand further we will first need to concentrate on building a more extensive pipeline of local talent and established organizations. When we talked with the Players’ Association for pro feedback, they were also strongly in favor of keeping 10 slots for competing teams."
Riot went on to say that there certainly were more than 10 viable teams in the applicant pool, and that they are still working to narrow down the top organizations based on "content creation, sponsor acquisition and retention, storytelling, merch, fan engagement and more." Final selections will be announced in November.
To read more about the franchising application process, as well as future goals for the Players' Association, check out Riot's full post here.