The franchising process for the EU LCS is nearing completion. Roughly two dozen teams applied to the new league, which will feature guaranteed spots and revenue sharing.
Now we have the first report of teams accepted as franchises. Fnatic, G2, Misfits, Schalke 04, and Vitality made it, as reported by ESPN’s Jacob Wolf. This followed an earlier report that two organizations with long-running presences in the EU LCS, Splyce and H2k, had their applications rejected.
All five teams competed in the LCS this year, which means the league will look mostly the same next season. Fnatic was a founding member of the league in 2013 after winning the first-ever World Championship in 2011. G2 has competed in the league since 2016, and won four straight championships from 2016 to 2017. These were two of the most successful franchises in league history and were perceived as near-locks to be accepted.
Misfits and Schalke 04 joined in 2016 and Vitality was promoted into the LCS from Challenger last year. Each of the newer teams brought something unique. Misfits sponsors teams in major esports worldwide and has experience growing its fan base in a short amount of time. Its acceptance is noteworthy because of the organization’s sponsorship of an Overwatch League team, the Miami Mayhem. Last year, Immortals, a longstanding NA LCS organization, was not accepted into the franchised North American league due to concerns about its participation in Overwatch and overall financial condition.
Schalke 04 and Vitality diversify the league with their regional ties to Germany and France, respectively. Schalke is sponsored by football team FC Schalke 04, who compete in the German Bundesliga. And Vitality recently announced a sponsorship deal with Orange, one of the world’s biggest telecom companies that is part-owned by the French state.
With five teams accepted and two teams out, that leaves ROCCAT, GIANTS Gaming, and Unicorns of Love as endemic teams whose futures are unknown. When the franchising process for the NA LCS was complete, just six endemic teams were accepted. Riot Games’ plan was to delay the final franchising announcement until the end of Worlds, which is taking place currently and ends on Oct. 20.