German football club Schalke 04 is looking into the possibility of selling its place in the League of Legends European Championship (LEC), according to reports by French newspaper L’Équipe.
According to Paul Arrivé of L’Equipe, Schalke’s LEC spot is estimated to cost anywhere up to €20m (£17.2m), which is significantly higher than the €8m (~£6.89m) price tag that the esports organisation reportedly paid in 2019 to enter into the franchised league.
Update: Schalke 04 later confirmed, via an AMA on Twitch on February 24th, that the club is potentially looking at selling it’s LEC spot.
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The news of Schalke potentially selling its League of Legends is said to be due to the ongoing pandemic and the football club’s current financial situation. Last December, ESPN reported that the club’s debts had risen to €200m. Moreover, the club recently departed with now ex-president Clemens Tönnies after internal controversy.
Schalke’s football team is also predicted be relegated from the Bundesliga (Germany’s top division), with the club currently bottom of the table with only one win in 22 matches. If the team is relegated, it could have significant financial implications, which is what has possibly led to Schalke considering the sale of its LEC spot.
The LEC is sponsored by brands such as Red Bull and Kia, and has seen significant growth since become a franchised league. This could be seen as the reason why Schalke is looking to sell its space for the reported figure of up to €20m.
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Schalke’s situation is expected to become more clear in the coming weeks and months, as the Bundesliga finishes by the end of May. Either way, it is expected that Schalke 04 will continue to finish this split in the LEC, even if the franchise was to be sold.
Any news of potential buyers has yet to surface, however, there is expected to be significant interest in the spot.
Esports Insider Says: Only time can tell whether Schalke 04 will be continuing in the LEC past this season, but it’s certainly an interesting gauge to other clubs as to how much a spot could be potentially valued at. It may also unearth some potential investors attracted by the idea of joining the league – and may tempt Riot Games into a future expansion.