The news that Team Dignitas’s franchising application had been declined came up in an investigative ESPN article by Jacob Wolf. Dignitas were in phase two of the application process when they were told they didn’t make the final cut.
This means that they will enter the compensation pool for the existing NA LCS teams, and will have to release their player contracts.
And while the official reasons for the decision haven’t been disclosed, there’s plenty of information to make an educated guess.
When the NA LCS franchising was first announced, everyone just assumed Team Dignitas would be there. It made sense. Together with TSM, Counter Logic Gaming, and Team Liquid, they were the founding teams of the NA LCS. Combine that with their huge following and the funding they received from Philadelphia’s 76ers, and it was easy to assume Team Dignitas was a franchising shoe-in.
But the team itself never showed up in the league. Sure, you could count on Dignitas to reach the playoffs after a shaky regular season, but it was rare to see them accomplish more than that. And when you go a year back, Team Dignitas even got relegated, and had to buy back into the NA LCS.
Of course, competitive success isn’t the only thing that defines a good team. For example, Team Liquid, which had worse recent showings than Dignitas, is very likely to stay in the scene. But if that’s the case, Team Liquid’s future will be secured by its extraordinary ability to create great content and find high-profile sponsors. And with so many huge organizations being interested in applying for the North American League of Legends Championship Series, it seemed that even the backing of 76ers didn’t make Team Dignitas safe from expulsion.
Dignitas simply couldn’t catch up with the competition.
Perhaps more interesting are the fates of Dignitas players. Their current roster includes Ssumday, Shrimp, Keane, LOD, Altec, Big, and Adrian. And while some players here aren’t exactly top-tier, the introduction of Academy teams means they’ll likely find a new home in the nearest future. The same could be said about the coaching staff of Cop and Saintvicious that managed to turn Dignitas into a serious playoffs contender over the span of a single split.
In other news, Jacob Wolf reveals that some existing NA LCS teams will also have to take their leave. This means that in addition to Warriors jumping into the fray, we’ll see other organizations enter the League of Legends scene. In the end, there’s a lot of change happening in the NA LCS right now. And most of it seems to be for the better.
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