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Riot Games has announced the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) will begin the franchising process for the 2021 season. The other major LoL regions had already previously franchised with North America and China in 2018 and Europe in 2019. This transition will mean many significant changes to the Korean League of Legends league.
The announcement of franchising stated, “We have concluded that LCK must be a stage where players, teams, and fans can fulfill their dreams not only for a short period but for generations. We will adopt the Long-term partnership model in LCK in 2021. And we will bring back the glory.” Their final promotional series will take place at the end of the current split. Afterward, their plan to franchise the league will take into effect.
The process for LCK franchising
To move forward with the transition, they have created an official website with a franchising application. Teams that are interested in franchising can view the benefits and rules of joining. A letter of intent must be submitted by May 8, 2020. A business plan, team operations plan, required funding plan, and related documents must be submitted by the following June 19.
The website states their goal for the application process: “Every team we select will be a team that our fans can proudly support. Those teams will also be financially stable and have the knowledge and capability to support it’s players properly. We were able to take learnings from LCS, LEC, and LPL, which have already gone through the team selection process to Long-term partnership, and we plan to improve upon them even further to select the perfect teams for LCK.”
There are plenty of positive aspects the LCK hopes for as it transitions. Not only will organizations have stability, but they will also have business investments and revenue sharing. Their financial stability will be reinvested into players and fans, which means higher salaries, better and more available merchandise, and possibly more events. Additionally, players will have a minimum salary of 60 million South Korean Won (roughly $49,000 USD), reportedly the highest of any professional sports league in the country.
Another benefit is the existence of better work/play environments for the teams and organizations. This could possibly mean better computer systems, gaming houses, and more. Additionally, teams will also keep players as long-term partners. This will help keep stability within organizations and teammates.
Franchising the LCK will create permanent teams that won’t disappear or get demoted for losing tournaments, and the LCK website states: “We hope to see LCK teams building their own traditions over generations. We hope to see our fans grow older and pass on their fandom to their children, and cheer for their favorite teams as families.”
No more Challengers Korea
Finally, League of Legends Challengers Korea will be discontinued and replaced by the new Academy League, similar to with the other franchised leagues. The website states, “The league will also support the smooth migration of the players from LoL Challengers Korea to LCK teams’ rosters prior to the launch of 2021 LCK.”
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