Since its foundation in 2012, and its rebranding in 2014, the League of Legends Champions Korea brings together the best South-Korean team within a model that allows relegation and promotion.
This decision follows Riot's will to create a virtuous environment where teams and players can thrive without fearing the relegation. Indeed, the franchise model will put an end to the promotion/relegation system by discontinuing the LoL Challengers Korea and transforming it into a system similar to the Academy Leagues.
From a business point of view, the current open-league model of the LCK is a big obstacle for all teams as they need to maintain their spot in order to meet investors.
“We’ve considered transitioning to a franchise league since 2018," stated Riot Games, "Starting last year, we have been considering many different models and the validity of the business by cooperating with several corporations. Through franchising, our goal is to create stability and attract investments for teams and sponsors, aiming for improved performances and creating a virtuous circle. Like baseball or soccer, we hope that esports can also become a multi-generation sport that multiple generations can enjoy.”
With this new model, the company hopes to give more financial stability to teams as the profit for the league will be distributed among them. Players will also receive bigger support, with their minimum wages increased from 20M KRW (16,180 USD) to 60M KRW (≒48,540 USD).