While other regions have exclaimed great interest in the League of Legends franchising system, South Korea will be sitting it out for the time being.
Speaking with Slingshot Esports, an official representative from Riot Games confirmed that the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) will not be abolishing its relegation process any time soon. The region may come around in the future, but it has decided to follow through with the current system until then.
“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,” said the developer. “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.”
The hidden text in the statement clearly notes that the professional circuit of South Korea has no need to adopt the League of Legends franchising system. The regional team owners are already content with their respective contracts with the Korea Esports Association (KeSPA). The revenue incentives that other regions have been asking for, is not necessarily something of interest to Korean professionals.
Earlier this month, China confirmed that it will be the first to remove the relegation system and move towards League of Legends franchising with the start of the Summer Split this year. According to provided details, teams that qualified for the Summer Split will be guaranteed spots in the new format. Next year, the League of Legends franchising model of China will be expanded to cater fourteen teams. A year after, it hopes to include at least twenty.
Riot Games is expected to make the official announcement for North America, and perhaps other regions, soon.
The fear of being relegated means that most teams are part of the professional circuit on a temporary basis. With teams featuring permanent spots in the league, owners will have a better time with building long-term partnerships with investors and advertisers. That and more is what League of Legends franchising hopes to bring.