In 2019, the EU LCS is converting to permanent partnership, a system North America’s been using for the past year. That means there will be 10 permanent EU LCS teams competing every year, and no more relegation.
These teams can be new or old--in NA we saw the likes of Immortals, Dignitas, and others disappear, and new teams like Golden Guardians, 100 Thieves, and Clutch.
So what motivates teams? Mainly revenue sharing between the partners. The revenue Riot and the teams make from media deals, sponsorships, and merch will be pooled together, then split between teams, player salaries, and riot. The more viewership the league gets, the more everyone makes.
And, to be safe, Riot is also putting in “incentives and penalties based on performance” though we haven’t seen what this looks like yet in NA.
The 10 teams will be picked through an application process that will run through 2018. In Phase 1, applicants will turn in their marketing and business plans. Phase 2 will have top applicants presenting to and interviewing with Riot in person. And in Phase 3, Riot will announce the 10 permanent EU teams. Teams that get kicked out of the league will have time to sell their player contracts, and get compensation for their time in the league so far.
As for players, their minimum salary is moving from 24k to 60k euros, and per the new rules, they have to get at least 35% of League revenue. This means that if their contract salary falls under that percent, they’ll get a bonus.
That said, it’s unclear what the actual gains are for teams, players, and Riot, as this system has only been running in NA for one split. So it’s hard to say exactly how franchising will affect EU or if it’ll solve its problems.
To get a better idea of what Riot is planning, we talked with Quickshot.
Disclosure: Riot Games, the publisher of League of Legends, is an investor in Blitz Esports.