The League of Legends Championship Korea is going to look a little different next year. Like other regional leagues, the LCK is going to be fully franchised next year, meaning teams competing this year will have to formally apply to partner with Riot Korea if they want to continue playing.
“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 Korea says in its latest press release. “With this change, we plan to strengthen LCK’s competency and ultimately create a more satisfying experience for all participants of the league.”
With franchising comes a lot of changes, though. The promotion and relegation series will be held for the last time after the 2020 LCK Spring Split, allowing organisations to properly invest in their teams without the threat of relegation looming. Partnered teams will also receive their share of the league’s revenue.
In addition to that, the LoL Challengers Korea will be discontinued and replaced with an Academy League, and player salaries will increase. According to Inven Global, the minimum wage for players, which is set at about 20M KRM ($16,180), will be tripled to about 60M KRM ($48,540) so that players can focus on their performances week in, week out.
Following the announcement, Riot Korea has opened its doors to franchising applications. The full list of partnered teams will be announced in September 2020.