Riot Games’ decision to franchise the North America League of Legends Championship Series has provided a level of stability that allows for organisations to increase the amounts that they’re investing.
In exchange for a fee of around $10 million, Riot removes the risk of relegation and guarantees teams a place in the NA LCS. Riot felt that this would allow teams to invest more and attract sponsors without the risk of their organisation crumbling due to a few poor results.
According to Steve Arhancet, owner of Team Liquid, this new model is working out well.
Speaking to Venture Beat, Arhancet said:
“That franchising system has created an incubator for a level of investment of resources for Team Liquid that’s pretty exciting.”
“That kind of commitment and investment at those levels was never available before.”
“To know that we’ll be in a permanent structure allows us to go for a larger market share of fandom in League of Legends in a much longer time horizon. That’s why we went real fucking big during the off-season.”
How franchising turned Team Liquid around
Team Liquid overhauled their roster in between the conclusion of the 2017 Summer Split and start of the 2018 Spring Split.
Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong, Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, Eugene “Pobelter” Park, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung were all signed after Team Liquid finished in the bottom two in the Summer Split.
This increase in investment has paid off for Team Liquid. The team went on to win the NA LCS Spring Split. Anhancet’s side beat 100 Thieves in the playoff final to take home the $100,000 prize pool.
Their fellow finalists are another team with franchising to thank. Without the change in structure, 100 Thieves wouldn’t have been present in the league this season.
In the same interview, Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, founder of 100 Thieves, said:
“We’re one of the new teams that ventured into the LCS, so for us, as a new organization, the fact that Riot is franchised gives us the opportunity to really invest in our organization, our players, and our content.”