North American and European League Championship Series teams have written a letter to league organizer and League of Legends developer Riot Games to address financial concerns, league chartership plans, revenue sharing and relegation from the League, as confirmed by league sources to ESPN.
The original letter, earlier reported by Slingshot Esports, was signed by 18 of the 20 participating LCS teams and addressed to Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill, co-head of esports Whalen Rozelle, co-head of esports Jarred Kennedy and head of EU esports Jason Yeh, and copied to other Riot co-founder Brandon Beck. It highlights six alleged issues with the current structure and Riot-proposed structure in place that require solving and suggests potential options for solution.
The 18 owners of the teams collectively wrote that they believe there are issues in job security caused by relegation from the league, as well as lack of compensation, which is currently a Riot-given minimum of $12,500 per player per split in North America and €11,250 in Europe. The letter also claims the current model of relegation does not allow for teams to generate enough revenue to invest in their players.
The letter also alleges that Riot Games is currently constructing charter memberships for 2018 in North America and 2019 in Europe, a system similar to franchising. The owners' concern is that Riot has not assured them that they will be involved in this charter. In addition, the team agreements, which are signed twice a year for each split, do not automatically renew. The letter calls for an auto renewal, which guarantees that teams that remain in the league are granted spots in the league by default.
In the letter, the team owners state that "Riot's terms simply will not fix the instability and financial losses which the Teams have articulated to Riot in detail." Furthermore, after proposing solutions, the owners add that "The compromise solution will not effectively solve the problems stated above and, at best, will still find the Teams operating at a loss in 2017. We believe, however that, given Riot's position on these issues, the compromise solution outlined above is a minimally acceptable path forward for 2017."
Immortals, Team Liquid, Team Vitality, and Misfits have declined to comment on the letter. Riot Games, Cloud 9, Unicorns of Love, Origen, Fnatic, G2 Esports, Phoenix1, Giants Gaming, Counter Logic Gaming, Splyce, H2K Gaming, Team EnVyUs, Team Dignitas, Team SoloMid and Team ROCCAT have yet to respond to a request for comment.