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Riot Games’ Player Contract Database Is Worrying for Team Managers

Riot Games maintains a public Player Contract Database which contains information on all players officially enrolled for first-party leagues.

Importantly for League of Legends team managers, the database verifies the contracts of the players and when they are scheduled to end. Based on the Player Contract Database, managers can ponder over when and whom to approach with a new deal.

The idea of a public Player Contract Database is important as it stands as the first line of defense against poaching. However, it’s how Riot Games manages the database that is worrying for team managers.

Last month, North American League of Legends team Echo Fox was caught in a scandalous attempt to poach former Immortals support Adrian “Adrian” Ma. At the time, Adrian was picked up by Phoenix1 and so was under a contract. Today, the developer cleared the team and its owner Rick Fox of the charges.

In a statement passed to TheScore, Esports Manager Riot Chopper clarified that no action can be taken against Echo Fox because Adrian wasn’t listed on the Player Contract Database when the incident took place. While Phoenix1 had already announced Adrian as its new support player, Riot Games was yet to receive the official documentations. Hence, the Player Contract Database still showed Adrian as a free agent.

To further clarify, the database is not updated on a set schedule. Instead, it is updated “as needed when we [Riot] receive contracts”. In that light, the database actually gives a small window of opportunity to team managers to poach players.

It’s a common tradition of announcing new players first and conducting the official paperwork with Riot Games afterwards. As such, the database is only updated once the paperwork goes through. Hence, a newly signed player is not protected by Riot’s anti-poaching laws unless the database is updated.

The pre-season saw numerous roster changes in the competitive League of Legends world. However, the online database has still not been updated to reflect all those announcements.

For example, the entire LCK division is yet to be updated while the European database was last updated on November 15; thus, missing several key announcements such as Kim “sumday” Chan-ho and Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun who signed with Dignitas yesterday. Paul “Soaz” Boyer is still being shown under his former team despite entering a new contract.

There needs to be a better way of safeguarding team owners against poaching attempts.