H2K and Paris Saint-Germain have finalized a partnership agreement that will see the two companies co-apply for a franchise slot in the European League of Legends Championship Series, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN.
The partnership will see H2K act as the operating partner for a team that will likely be co-branded, similar to Paris Saint-Germain's deal with LGD Gaming in DOTA 2.
If accepted into the league, this will be the first time Paris Saint-Germain has been involved in League of Legends since it exited the esport in October 2017 after multiple failed attempts to promote into the league from the Challenger Series.
Together, H2K and Paris Saint-Germain are among about two dozen applicants in the second stage of the European League of Legends Championship Series franchising process, league sources told ESPN. Throughout Stage 2, applicants have traveled to Berlin to interview with Riot Games top league officials to discuss their applications and address any questions Riot may have before it decides on the teams it will accept into the league.
The league is expected to select those teams in October, similar to the timeline that its sister league, the North American League of Legends Championship Series, used in 2017. New teams in the North American League Championship Series were announced last November.
The European League Championship Series announced it would be moving to a franchise model last March. The franchise price will be 8 million euros ($9.27 million) for teams currently participating in the league, and 10.5 million euros ($12.17 million) for new teams that join the league. For the first time in its league history, revenue sharing options will be available for both teams and players.
H2K was among a few existing teams in the European League Championship Series that were outspoken about the league's financial structure; H2K viewed it as unfavorable to operating a business. Following H2K's statements in September 2017, Unicorns of Love owner Jos Mallant also penned an open letter outlining financial difficulty for teams, like his, that participate in the European League Championship Series. Four teams -- G2 Esports, Fnatic, Misfits and Splyce -- each applied for the North American League Championship Series in July 2017, but were subsequently declined entry into the league throughout August and September 2017.
Riot reportedly was going to try a 24-team regional league that would mirror the UEFA Champions League. That league proposal would have split the league into four regions: London, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona, Spain. Riot abandoned this model, however, after more pushback and concerns about being able to launch four smaller leagues with a consistent quality in less than two years. It then moved to take a more traditional franchised league approach.
H2K, Riot Games and Paris Saint-Germain did not respond to requests for comment.