After failing to qualify back into the European League Championship Series, one of the oldest organizations in League of Legends, Copenhagen Wolves, has opened a private bidding to sell its Challenger Series spot, backing out of the esport that it has been a part of since 2013, sources close to the organization tell ESPN.
The organization currently has no interest investing in salaries required to retain its players. According to sources, there's been a recent spike in Challenger player salaries with teams like Inspire eSports entering the fray. Copenhagen Wolves does not intend to spend or match new salary expectations.
While the roster has yet to announce their departure, sources close to the players say that jungler Tri "k0u" Tin Lam and AD carry Kristoffer "P1noy" Pedersen currently have garnered interest from a multitude of LCS and Challenger teams, with Team Huma interested in both players and Team Vitality interested in picking up P1noy.
Diglife, a majority owner of the Copenhagen Wolves, also owns Ninjas in Pyjamas, one of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's well known and successful teams -- and it intends to focus more on that esport instead. Minority owner and former CEO Jakob Lund Kristensen is now a managing partner of Astralis, another CS:GO team.
Sources say that these other obligations for the Diglife organization and Lund Kristensen have prevented them from maintaining the Copenhagen Wolves organization as they would like. As a result, they intend to back out of the League of Legends space.
Copenhagen Wolves isn't the only team in discussion. Several weeks ago, soccer organization FC Schalke 04 reportedly purchased European LCS team Elements for an unspecified amount, according to Esports Observer. In North America, three teams -- Renegades, Team Dragon Knights, and Impulse -- are currently up for sale after Riot Games ruled them ineligible to play and banned their ownership from holding a LCS slot.
The going rate for a Challenger Series spot in Europe is currently unknown, but during the winter, Team Dignitas' European LCS squad, which included a full-lineup, went for a reported $750,000 to Splyce (previously FolloweSports). But Gambit Gaming's LCS slot, which only included one player, went for roughly €400,000 (estimated $454,880.)
In North America, sale prices have been significantly higher for League of Legends teams. North American LCS squad Gravity sold, with no players, to former professional basketball player Rick Fox for a reported $1 million. Additionally Sacramento Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, on behalf of NRG Esports, purchased Team Coast, with a complete lineup, for roughly $1.4 million, according to sources.