Last month we reported on the news that Riot Games would be making major changes to the NA LCS, including franchising the league and removing relegation, just to name a few things. Now the CEOs of a few teams have spoken to Red Bull Esports about the changes.
"There are a lot of amazing things to read in the announcement that were, I think, defining moments for esports as a genre, not just League of Legends," said Marty Strenczewilk, co-founder and CEO of Splyce (a US team, although they field a EU LCS team). "True revenue sharing, that reflects what we see in places like the NBA. 'Hey players, you're guaranteed to make this much money, but if we make more, you share it too' - just like basketball or other sports like that. All those great ways for this to be very successful."
"Honestly, Riot probably could have asked for more money," added Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals. "The fact that they didn't gives me a lot of confidence in their desire not to find the partners that are willing to break out the biggest cheque books, but the partners that share their long term view and their philosophy. I think it was a real show of good faith by Riot."
"I would say that the application process is incredibly important not just for Riot, but even for me," he continued. "I want to be a part of North American LCS franchising and if I'm going to be a part of that permanent partnership, I want to make sure that all the other teams that I'm working alongside are similarly well capitalised, similarly well run, and similarly motivated philosophically so that I know that we're all building the league together. Ultimately, that's what's going to make sure that the league succeeds in the long term. If you just lock in the 10 teams, there's too much of a risk that people aren't going to be on the same page."
Regarding the removal of relegation, Whinston also had positive things to say: "I care a lot about making those long term investments, not just in players, but in infrastructure, branding, content, sponsorships and partnerships. You can't make those long term investments if your organisation disappears overnight if you get relegated. The reason that you can see rookies go from the draft into the NHL and succeed three years later is because you don't need to worry about getting the player who's the best right now, you need to worry about who's going to be the best player in the future. That's kind of how we've started working with our League of Legends team already, despite the fact that it's not necessarily in our best interests this split to do so."
Do you agree with Whinston and Strenczewilk?