Ten months after Riot Games officially announced changes to the North American League Championship Series, the game developer declared similar adjustments to the European league.
In the official release, among other changes coming to the league are player salary increase, revenue share with the teams and players, and a removal of relegation system.
The topic of franchising the European LCS came to life in September of last year, after a league veteran H2k-Gaming addressed financial issues that arise from running an esports franchize at this level. Several other teams expressed their approval at the time, which likely lead to the introduction of revenue share model so closely following the North American counterpart.
The application process for the teams looking to join the league in 2019 promises to be at least as strict as it was in North America last year. Riot Games are looking to partner with organizations with strong ownership and a viable long-term business plan. Additionally, the developer of the game wants teams that will be able to connect with the existing fans as well as potentially bring their own.
“We are open to applicants from many different backgrounds, industries, and locations,” said Remer Rietkerk, Project Lead for 2019 Partnerships at Riot Games. “Our goal here is to run a fair process that will find ten organizations that resonate with our audience and understand our sport.”
Alongside the hefty application requirements is a significant buy-in of €10.5 Million, half of which has to be paid upfront.
“In that nutshell, it’s not necessarily that we want the ten richest teams or the ten ultimately, individually best teams,” Marc Schnell, Head of EU League Management at Riot Games told Forbes in an interview. “What we’re looking for is the right mix that allows us to learn from each other. I feel we would like everyone to bring something to the table that will help elevate the league as well as all the other teams.”
Per the official announcement, 32.5 percent of the revenue will go to the teams, part of that share will be distributed equally among the ten teams, the other part will be divided based on the competitiveness of the team. The same amount will go to Riot for broadcast production and running the league.
The final 35 percent will be distributed among the league players in a form of salaries, which will see an increase to €60,000 a year in 2019. However, if the league performs well and there’s a surplus in the player portion after the salaries, the difference will be distributed equally among the players.
In addition to that, Riot Games explicitly pointed out the plans for player development in the region, to nurture and develop new talent.
“We’ve always been fortunate that our region produced a lot of strong talent. We want to continue to build on this and ensure that aspiring players have meaningful competition they can grow in and ensure that they get exposure,” says Marc Schnell. “Player welfare is important to us, and we want to expand on our existing efforts to provide players with resources that help them in their career.”
The first phase of the application process will last until July 1st, after that, the review of the applications and individual interviews will follow. After a lengthy process, the ten teams to compete in the 2019 EU LCS will be known by November this year.