SK Gaming has returned to League of Legends after two years away from the game—and could be applying for the newly-franchised LCS.
The German organization has picked up a quintet of German League players for the upcoming Premier Tour, a Riot Games-run tournament for teams in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
The tournament is part of the new European Masters program, which replaced the European Challenger Series this year. SK Gaming is the biggest name in the tournament, alongside the academy side of Unicorns of Love and Mousesports.
While SK Gaming now has an all-German lineup for the second tier competition, that isn’t the full story. The announcement comes alongside a new partnership with Europe’s largest telecoms company, Deutsche Telekom. Deutsche Telekom has a number of subsidiary companies in other countries, many of them under the T-Mobile brand.
A report from German business magazine SPONSORs claims that that investment, which is partially directed specifically to the League of Legends division, is part of SK’s ambitions to be part of the franchised EU LCS.
Applications for “permanent partner” status are already open, with the deadline set for July 1. SK Gaming have a long history in the LCS—they were one of the original teams when the league was established in 2013. SK lost its place in the league in the 2016 Spring Promotion tournament, losing to Gamers2 who would eventually become current top LCS side G2 Esports.
SPONSORs reports that the Deutsche Telekom investment is in the high six figures, but that will only scratch the surface of the €10.5 million ($13 million) SK would need to find as a franchise fee if accepted to the LCS.
SK has signed five players for its new lineup—Daniel “Scarface” Aitbelkacem , Gerrit “Phrenic” Stukemeier, Hicham “SozPurefect” Tazrhini, Tim “Keduii” Willers and Mads “Doss” Schwartz. Scarface, SozPurefect and Doss most recently played in the Spanish Super Liga, while Keduii and Phrenic played in the ESL Meisterschaft on Phrenic, finishing first at the 2018 Spring Playoffs.