EU LCS franchising in 2019

The EU LCS appears to be following in the footsteps of the NA LCS and LPL with the introduction of franchising in 2019.

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Although we have previously discussed the changes that the EU LCS underwent for the 2018 season, it looks as though further changes are on the cards for the 2019 season.

Pretty big changes.

Buy-ins for teams

Sources have reportedly revealed to ESPN that the EU LCS region will adopt a franchising model by 2019. Under this model it is reported that ten teams will continue to play within the EU LCS. Existing teams wishing to remain within the league will need to pay eight million euros to lock in their place, whilst new teams to the league will be expected to pay 10.5 million euros. These amounts are similar to the buy-in amounts in place for the NA LCS last year.

Teams that secure a spot in the EU LCS will remain within the league for three years under the proposed franchising arrangement, meaning that relegations will be a thing of the past. However, it is understood that should a team consistently under-perform they may be removed from the EU LCS, which should help to ensure a standard of quality between the participating teams, retaining some of the spirit underneath relegation.

Although we do not know which teams will join or leave the EU LCS at this stage, it would not be too far-fetched to imagine that teams such as Fnatic, G2 Esports, Misfits and Splyce will apply for franchising. All four teams applied for NA LCS franchising last year, however all their applications were ultimately rejected.

These changes may also mean that new teams will enter the EU LCS. Although ESPN reports that further soccer clubs may be attracted to a franchising deal, we will not know for some time which teams will be confirmed in the EU LCS for 2019. It is reported that applications to join the EU LCS in 2019 will begin this week and that the application will comprise a three-stage process that will run until the end of this year, so we should have a better idea during the 2018 off-season of the teams that were successful in their applications.

Franchising should keep the EU LCS competitive

One of the main benefits that should come from the proposed franchising arrangements will be an increase to players’ minimum salaries, which ESPN reports should increase from the current minimum of $29,791 per annum to $74,749 in 2019. 

While this change should represent a substantial pay rise for many EU LCS professional players, it also means that the EU LCS can be more competitive when it comes to attracting top talent from overseas. The NA LCS, which has already introduced franchising, was able to attract top-tier European talent to its league due to its ability to offer higher player salaries. EU will remain competitive when pitching for prestige players.

More financial stability should appease existing EU LCS teams

It’s not just the pros that stand to benefit from the franchising changes, as ESPN reports that the “restructured league will consolidate a revenue pool, which will be distributed to Riot Games, European League Championship Series teams and players.” Players are expected to receive 35% of this pool and 32.5% is expected to be distributed amongst the participating teams. The remaining 32.5% will be distributed to Riot.

News that teams are expected to receive additional revenue will undoubtedly be received warmly by teams such as H2k, who have been outspoken about the financial struggles that they have faced in the league to date.

You can read the original report from ESPN here.

Do you think franchising will be beneficial to the EU LCS? Let us know in the comments below!