Houston Rockets reportedly secure last NA LCS spot

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Riot Games have reportedly accepted a bid for a spot in the NA LCS from the NBA’s Houston Rockets, according to theScore esports. The report’s release allows us to form a list of the final ten teams rumoured to be participating in next year’s North American League of Legends Championship Series.

The Rockets had been looking for esports opportunities as early as December of last year, when Sebastian Park was announced as Director of Esports Development. The organisation’s esports division has reportedly spent the last few months hiring staff and taking advantage of the team’s sports analysts to create ‘comprehensive’ League of Legends scouting reports. The Rockets are also claimed to have made the decision not to enter the Overwatch League earlier on, choosing instead to focus on the popular MOBA.

As with previous teams, the Houston Rockets were reported to have been informed of the success of their application last week. The team’s entry means they will be required to create a new brand for the upcoming season, in line with NBA rules.

The latest news means that the Rockets are 10th and last organisation to join the NA LCS when the league undergoes extensive change next season.

Here’s the full list of which franchises you can expect to see at the NA LCS next year:

IN:

  1. Team SoloMid
  2. Cloud9
  3. Counter Logic Gaming
  4. Team Liquid
  5. OpTic Gaming
  6. Joe Lacob, majority stake owner of the NBA team Golden State Warriors
  7. Echo Fox
  8. Cleveland Cavaliers
  9. FlyQuest
  10. Houston Rockets

OUT:

  1. Team Dignitas
  2. Team EnVyUs
  3. Pheonix1
  4. Immortals

Each successful team will have to pay a $10 million (£7.61m) buy-in fee, with half of that up-front and the rest in delayed installments. Existing teams who are denied entry will be receive compensation from a pool of funding provided by new teams entering the league, who will have to supply an addition $3m (£2.77m) each.

The Houston Rockets’ successful application provides yet another bond in the NBA’s link to League of Legends. There are now only three franchises without owners or investors directly affiliated with NBA teams – OpTic Gaming, Cloud9, and Team SoloMid.

Esports Insider says: With all ten teams to have successful applications to the NA LCS now revealed, questions must be raised over Riot’s public communication policies. The company will be upset that the leaks might be distracting fans from a thrilling World Championship. From a viewer’s perspective, it’s thrilling to see such big names from traditional sport lending their credibility and financial muscle to the scene.