Starting in 2021, Riot Games Korea will move the League of Legends Champions Korea to a franchising system. This follows in the footsteps of the LCS, LPL, and LEC. According to Riot, this is being done in an effort to get players, fans, and teams to forge long-lasting relationships. This Long-term partnership hopes to create a more enjoyable gaming experience for all participants. According to the newly remodeled LCK website:
"The promotion and relegation series will be held for the last time after the 2020 LCK Spring Split, and the promotion and relegation system will no longer take place afterwards," according to the newly remodeled LCK website. "In 2021, we plan to implement the Long-term partnership model in LCK to create an environment where fans, players, and teams can form a long-term relationship. With this change, we plan to strengthen LCK's competency and ultimately create a more satisfying experience for all participants of the league. In the long-term partnership model, the league and teams become partners to form a shared entity that makes the decisions about the league together and shares its revenue. Teams that join the league do not get relegated and remain as a participant of LCK."
Teams interested in playing in future tournaments will need to submit an application by June 19th, and then undergo a formal review. This formal review will go from June 19th until sometime in August, with Riot announcing the finalists in September. Riot will also be offering a minimum salary for all players in the LCK. The salary will start at 60 million Korean won — roughly $49,000 USD. This salary will help with career stability for players. The LCK is the last of the League of Legends regions to go franchise. Both the North America and Chinese regions went franchise in 2018, with Europe following in 2019.
This announcement comes during a rather interesting point in world history. With real-life tournaments being moved to a later start date (and going mostly digital), and Korea finally going into the franchise form, now is probably a good time to be an esports fan or player. This community continues to adapt and grow stronger no matter what is thrown at it. Are you a fan of LoL? Are you excited about the news and upcoming events? Let us know in the comments below!