Riot Games has officially announced the 10 organisations which will be a part of its new Korean League of Legends (LCK) franchise system.
Following two internal evaluation processes, it has been revealed that all 10 organisations which were on the publisher’s ‘preferred list’, announced in August, have been accepted into the LCK next year.
As a result, nine of the LCK 2020 Summer participants have qualified for Korea’s franchising model, this includes current world champions DAMWON Gaming, alongside Gen.G Esports, and T1.
Last placed SeolHaeOne Prince has not been accepted into the newly franchised LCK, with HyFresh Blade of Korea’s Challenger Series (second division) becoming the only new organisation to enter the competition next year.
The confirmed teams for LCK’s franchised league in 2021 are:
- Afreeca Freecs
- Damwon Gaming
- Hanwha Life Esports
- HyFresh Blade
- KT Rolster
- Sandbox Gaming
- Team Dynamics
In order to enter into the league, organisations that are where previously in the LCK had to make payment of 10bn KRW (~ £6,83m), which would be split over the next five years. However, HyFresh Blade’s fee totals 12bn KRW (~£8.2m) over the same period of time due to being a new entrant.
In August’s list of preferred candidates, five other organisations were also named as ‘reserves’ in case talks with the confirmed teams had fallen through. Alongside SeolHaeOne Prince, which was at the top of said list, organisations such as Element Mystic, Jin Air Greenwings, Awesome Spear and OZ Gaming were all considered, however, all of the teams initially selected have completed their negotiations.
The LCK has become the last of Riot Games’ ‘major regions’ to enter a franchised model with the LPL (China), LEC (Europe) and LCS (U.S) all competing under the same structure.
It was also revealed that Riot Games would be open to the possibility of expanding the number of participants for the LCK in the future, as long as the market grows. The first expansion, if so, is expected to be up to 12 teams.
Esports Insider says: With the official confirmation of LCK’s franchised teams, Riot Games’ ‘major regions’ will all be participating on a franchised model from next year. It seems that the model has been working well in the other regions and the fact that organisations are willing to pay a hefty entry fee, showcases the faith firms have in League of Legends’ continued success.