The press conference in the lead up to the grand final of Worlds 2019 is currently being held in Riot Games, where Rioters are debating the future plans of the business in the newspapers. The future of LCK, and whether LCK would join its main rivals in becoming franchised, was a natural question.
To date, Korea has not yet implemented the permanent collaboration system, as Riot calls it, as a single major country. Among seasons, the LCK’s two bottom teams only compete with challenger teams, but they still have relegation games. Winners are going up, losers are down.
For LEC, LPL or LCS, that is not the case. We guarantee all participating teams permanent place in the league regardless of their performance, although a long history of poor performance could lead to a possible departure. The franchise model then practises the anticipation of slot safety removal, which can in itself be used for the long-term growth of the company.
Nevertheless, Riot Games does not yet have a definitive franchise strategy when it comes to the LCK. John Needham, Head of LoL Esports World, said that there was no news that an LCK collaboration programme would be created.
“The LCK is like the esport dad. For us and for our game, these are unbelievable, huge audiences. We don’t have any details about Franchising right now but ideally, we will have something to think about shortly. “It means that, at least, Spring Split 2020, and perhaps also Summer Split would start with relegations and if franchising comes to the LCK it is likely 2021, considering the long process in which requests are received, analysed, and approved. At the same time, without franchising, the LCK was doing well, and it could be even more years before that if any.