Riot Games has announced that the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) will adopt a long-term partnership model in 2021.
LCK will adopt the same model – which sees teams enter long-term partnerships with the developer – that is currently in place in China, Europe, and North America with LPL, LEC, and LCS respectively.
Riot Games’ official statement on its plans for the LCK is as follows: “We have concluded that LCK must be a stage where players, teams, and fans can fulfill their dreams not only for a short period, but for generations. We will adopt the Long-term partnership model in LCK in 2021. And we will bring back the glory.”
The league is accepting applications, which includes business plans for team operations and funding. It will host an application review process from June to August. As a result of the new model, LoL Challengers Korea will be discontinued in favour of a new academy competition – much like other regional leagues.
The new-look LCK will also look to improve the support it provides to players, with Riot Games mandating a minimum salary of 60 million KRW (£39,731.71) per season.
At the beginning of the year, Riot Games announced that it was looking to implement such a system with its Brazilian league, CBLoL, later this year. Much like other competitions, there will be an organisation buy-in with no chance of relegation. The Turkish Championship League is also set to follow suit in 2021.
Esports Insider says: If done properly, this could be a very welcome change for the LCK. Creating more stability for teams, players, and itself should be high on the list of priorities for Riot Games with this move. While we don’t know about the financials of LEC, LCS, and LPL, teams seem to be happy with how they’re going.