The debate surrounding the prospect of franchising in professional League of Legends leagues continues to split opinion. Currently, every major region in the competitive scene features some form of promotion and relegation system, yet recent reports emerging from within North America and China have revealed that the two respective regions are considering a switch to a franchising system. Riot Games Korea insist that no such format changes are on the horizon for the LCK.
Widely appreciated to be the most competitive region for League of Legends, League Champions Korea have expressed no interest in adopting a franchise model similar to the rumoured plans for North America’s LCS or China’s LPL. Both the NA LCS and LPL will reportedly eliminate the risk of relegation for their competing teams, instead provided a franchise system with secured membership for approved teams.
Speaking with Slingshot eSports, Riot Korea stated:
“Regarding the franchising of the LPL, we understand that the decision to change towards a franchising system was announced this past weekend by taking into account the regional characteristics.
“Considering that change should be implemented by keeping in mind the unique environment and characteristics of each region, we do not plan to implement such a plan in Korea in the short term.”
Riot Korea Official Announcement
At this stage it is seemingly ‘too early’ for the LCK representatives to consider eliminating relegation. The Chinese League of Legends Pro League announced their decision to abandon relegation entirely in the summer, confirming that all 12 of the current teams will be guaranteed a spot in the new franchised LPL. The LPL will expand to a total of 14 teams next year with a target of 20 in the future. The opportunity for city based teams remains on the table for Chinese eSports investors.
The North American LCS will apparently delay on moving to a franchise until 2018, though details of the reported format change are sketchy and currently unconfirmed. The highest level of League of Legends domestic competition however, will uphold the current integrity of the LCK for the foreseeable future.