Following the franchising announcement in June 2017, it is now becoming clear which teams will be continuing on in the North American League Championship Series and which teams will be replaced by new names, in what is likely to be the most significant change in format in NA LCS history.
Franchising will be bringing a plethora of changes to the NA LCS in 2018, guaranteeing that the teams who make it in are going to be permanent partners of the league, with no chance of relegation.
This opens up teams to receive large sponsorship deals will encourage long-term investors to more interested in working with NA LCS teams because there is no longer the fear of relegation.
Coupling this with new and improved salaries for pros as well as better protection and representation for them in the league, most of the changes coming with franchising have been widely accepted by fans and pro teams alike.
The catch is that all teams had to make applications for the chance to join the newly franchised NA LCS. Only now in October, the news is beginning to emerge as to which teams will be returning and which teams are out of the league – the aftershock from which is likely to shake the community for the foreseeable future.
The teams reported by ESPN eSports to be returning to the NA LCS so far include Team SoloMid, Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming, Team Liquid and Echo Fox.
This is good news for fans of these teams who have been a part of the league since it’s inception back in 2013, and seem to now be here to stay.
Echo Fox joined the NA LCS in Spring 2016, and although they haven’t had the greatest showing so far, it is the combined efforts of their former NBA star CEO Rick Fox, as well as a rapidly growing fan base which many believe landed them a spot in the league next year.
Also announced as a delightful surprise to many eSports fans across the globe, OpTic Gaming’s franchising application was accepted and they will now be the first new team announced to be joining the NA LCS in 2018.
OpTic Gaming is a very popular eSports organization which has dominated the professional Call of Duty scene for quite some time, as well as having successful teams in CS:GO, Gears of War and Halo.
They have a huge fanbase around the world and are a welcome addition to the 2018 NA LCS roster.
Unfortunately one of the original 8 teams in the league since 2013, Team Dignitas, has reportedly had their franchising application rejected by Riot.
Although it is sad to see an original team leave the NA LCS, many point to the fact that Team Dignitas does not have a big enough dedicated fan base as grounds for their rejection.
Similar things are being said about team EnVyUs and Phoenix1, both of which we’re notified by Riot Games that their applications to join the new league we’re denied.
The two teams joined the NA LCS back in the summer split of 2016, taking over Team Impulse and Misfits’ positions in the league.
Arguably the most controversial outcome coming from the application process so far was the denial of Immortals from continuing on in the newly franchised NA LCS in 2018.
This came as a surprise for Immortals fans and followers of League of Legends eSports alike, as Immortals was always a very strong team in the LCS. Since the team first entered the NA LCS in Spring 2016, they had placed within the top four in three out of the four playoffs they participated in.
The reasoning for Immortals application being declined could be due to the fact that the organization recently made a serious commitment to their Los Angeles based Overwatch team, but nothing is certain yet.
Regardless of the reasoning, it’s saddening to see so many established teams leaving the NA LCS due to the franchising changes. But with these new changes comes new teams, new storylines, and above all, hopefully, a new and improved NA LCS experience for fans across the world to enjoy.