A few months back Riot Games and the LCS team owners found themselves in a public brawl over certain regulations and the financial stability of teams within in the LCS. Most of the drama unfolded on Reddit between Any Dinh, owner of Team SoloMid, and Riot co-founder Marc Merrill. Heated words were shared, but eventually both parties receded to continue discussing the matter in private. Riot Games then discussed their changes for the 2017 Season which included team relegation, charter membership and some touch of financial stability, but that wasn’t enough, so 18 team owners from across Europe and North America have sent Riot a letter detailing their concerns.
Andy Dinh (far right) and Team SoloMid.
Big names like Cloud9, Team SoloMid, Imortals, Dignitas, G2 and Fnatic are just some the teams who co-signed the letter, hoping that Riot Games will address these concerns before the new season begins. The letter was obtained by Slingshot eSports over the weekend, which was made readily available on their article. The letter opens addressing the five core members of Riot Games: Marc Merrill, Whalen Roselle, Jarred Kennedy, Jason Yeh and Brandon Beck. The initial paragraph highlights the issues current owners see with the LCS:
- The lack of job security, fair compensation and longer careers for players caused by insufficient compensation and relegation;
- The damage to the Teams’ ability to invest in LCS players caused by insufficient compensation and relegation;
- The weakening relationship between fans and LCS caused by relegation;
- The harm to Team sponsorships caused by relegation and LCS’ restrictions on sponsors;
- The effective elimination of the path to pro caused by the Teams’ need to redirect resources from LCS to Challenger as a result of insufficient compensation and relegation.
- The financial hardship suffered by the Teams caused by insufficient compensation paid to the teams.
Riot have recently pushed for Team Owners to employ their players in order to offer job security and benefits such as health care and retirement funds. The biggest issue right now is relegation, which will further affect teams financially if they are not part of the LCS circuit. At the moment there’s very little compensation for teams within the LCS, and being the winner doesn’t always pay the bills. The biggest issue brought forward during the initial discussion was Riot’s ruling on sponsorship within teams and brands being advertised which are not in line with the LCS. These are the forms of revenue needed, and that’s what caused the first outcry.
Relegation was the second point addressed in the letter, but according to Slighshot Riot will not address the issue of relegation in the NA LCS until at least 2018, and EU LCS until 2019, which is an obvious issue.
Lastly the letter addresses revenue sharing and compensation from digitial purchases, media revenue sharing, sponsorships, and other methods to help teams financially. Their demands are just, as League of Legends is the largest and most lucrative eSport in the world. Riot Games have not responded to the letter, yet, but we will update as soon as they offer a response.