LCK to adopt franchise model in 2021

The Korean league will follow in the footsteps of the LCS, LPL, and LEC.

Photo via Riot Games

League of Legends Champions Korea will move to a franchising system for the 2021 competitive season, Riot Korea announced today.

“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,” Riot wrote. “With this change, we plan to strengthen LCK’s competency and ultimately create a more satisfying experience for all participants of the league.”

Riot Korea announced the LCK’s transition to a franchised system with a newly released website detailing its plans for the competitive league and laying out the formal application process for organizations looking to partner with Riot.

Teams will need to submit an application before June 19 and undergo a formal review process, which will then take place from June 19 to August. Riot will announce its final selection of partnered teams in September.

Partnered organizations will receive a portion of the Korean league’s revenue, including media deals, sponsorships, and merchandise sales. Additionally, Riot will introduce a minimum salary for all players in the league of 60 million Korean won, or roughly $49,000, to fortify career stability.

Selected organizations will be permanent members of the LCK, meaning relegation will no longer be a possibility for last-placed teams. The LCK will hold its final promotion and relegation series at the end of this year’s Spring Split.

The LCK is the final major League of Legends region to make the transition to franchising, following in the footsteps of the LCS, LPL, and the LEC. While both the North American and Chinese regions moved to a franchise model in 2018, the European league celebrated its first year of franchising under the re-branded LEC in 2019.