Riot last night announced the ten winners of slots in their new-look LCS league, which is doing away with relegation and promotion and promising franchised teams revenue sharing from 2018.
There were over 100 applicants for the league, but the final 10 teams taking place in the league are: 100 Thieves, Clutch Gaming, Golden Guardians, OpTic Gaming, Team Liquid, Echo Fox, Cloud 9 and Team SoloMid.
This list has a few surprises. The new teams are are 100 Thieves, Clutch Gaming, Golden Guardians and Optic Gaming, all of which have the backing of big American sports teams, 100 Thieves has involvement from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, Courtside Ventures and Ludlow ventures, Clutch Gaming has investment from Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta, Golden Guardians is a Warriors team, and OpTic Gaming, the most popular esports brand on social media in the world, has investment from MLB Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman via Infinite Esports & Entertainment.
Teams that didn’t make the cut are Dignitas, Team Envy, Immortals and Phoenix1. Getting the boot from the NA LCS will be a major financial blow, and sources suggest that the four teams will receive a low seven figure payout to sweeten the loss.
The same sources claim that teams will have to pay $10m to buy into the franchise, with newcomers paying $3m on top of this for additional fees.
Immortals and Envy are high-level League of Legends competitors, who have both received large investments. They would appear to be a natural fit, but for Riot it seems they weren’t quite the right fit.
The Spring Split will kick off on January 20. A European franchise league has been suggested for 2019.