The NA LCS is undergoing significant changes next split, including a much-discussed switch to a revenue-sharing model based on franchising. As a result of the shift, teams have had to apply to rejoin the league, in order to secure spots – which appear to be hotly contested.
So tough is the competition that longstanding League of Legends brand Team Dignitas – who participated in the first season of the NA LCS in 2013 – were denied application, and Pheonix1 and Team Envy will now join them in retiring from the league. Sources said that they were notified of Riot Games’ decision sometime last week.
OpTic Gaming make the cut after a process which reportedly saw over 100 applications from a diverse array of potential teams and investors. Their buy-in will include $5 million (£3.77m) up front, with a further $5 million in later payments. As a new team, they will also be required to pay a $3m (£2.26m) fee, which will enter a pool used to compensate existing teams (such as Pheonix1 and Envy) which don’t make it in.
This latest news means that at least three new teams will be joining the next season of Riot’s showpiece North American league.
Alongside OpTic, reports earlier this week suggested that Joe Lacob, majority owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, was accepted as one of the ten franchise spot holders.
The changes to the North American League of Legends Championship Series continue with no further news from Riot regarding the future of the European LCS, a cause of some concern that the region may struggle to remain competitive.
Esports Insider says: Team Envy and Pheonix1 have only participated in the NA LCS for three splits, so their loss in favour of new blood is not altogether unexpected. We look forward to seeing OpTic and their infamous Green Wall enter the League of Legends scene.