League of Legends Challenger teams eUnited and Gold Coin United are unlikely to be accepted into the North American League Championship Series unless either can find new third-party partners, sources close to both teams and league developer Riot Games told ESPN.
Both teams applied for membership in the League Championship Series with mixed results. Gold Coin United did not move on to the Phase 2 portion of the application process -- which includes an in-person interview with Riot Games in the developer's Los Angeles offices to review the application. EUnited did make that portion, but due to investment perils, is unlikely to move any further forward in the process or make the league at all, sources said.
In its application, eUnited outlined an investment deal with Salt Lake City-based firm Sorenson Capital and a marketing and infrastructure partnership with the Utah Jazz, both contingent on the team's acceptance into the Overwatch League and the League Championship Series, league sources said. The team did not make the first season of the Overwatch League and that deal fell through following their LCS application, according to sources, due to disagreements on financial terms between eUnited and Sorenson Capital.
EUnited and its executive staff attended their meeting with Riot Games in early September and had to inform Riot that the deal defined in their application had fell through, sources said.
Both eUnited and Gold Coin United are looking for new partners in those who did make it to Phase 2 of the application process, which would allow them a second chance for potential entry into the league. However, there is a lack of interest from many of the non-endemic parties without existing team partnerships, sources said, leaving doubt that either will make it into the LCS in any form. Gold Coin United, the Utah Jazz and Sorenson Capital did not comment when reached by ESPN.com; eUnited and Riot Games did not respond.
The future of both teams, their rosters and staff are currently undetermined. If neither organization make it into the final list for participation in the League Championship Series, they will be forced to sell their players' contract rights or release their players into free agency. The free agency and team transfer period for the 2018 season begins on Nov. 21.
Riot Games announced its plan to franchise the North American League Championship Series in May following discussion around the future of the league over the last two years. The developer gave out an application to interested parties and received over 100 applications, sources said. Riot announced in September that it will only accept 10 teams into the league and is expected to choose those teams in the coming weeks, sources said.
EUnited and Gold Coin United both entered the League of Legends Challenger Series, the amateur league that previously fed into the LCS, by buying the spots of Team Liquid Academy and NRG Esports in November. Both teams competed throughout the 2017 season and failed to qualify for the LCS through the promotion tournaments.