25 Confirmed Applicants for the Franchised LCK (So Far)
A franchised LCK has been in the works for quite a while. After North America and Europe successfully moved to a franchised model, they were able to find a lot more success (both financially and viewership-wise) than anyone could have anticipated. There were many downsides to franchising an esport, but the positives outweighed the negatives fairly quickly.
The LCK, however, is a slightly different beast. First of all, it is a world-class region, renowned for its competitiveness and historical success. Korea has given the world of competitive League some of its best and most capable players in history. Now sure, they haven’t been as successful as China or Europe over the last two years, but that in no way diminishes their incredible list of accomplishments.
Korea is also well-known for its ability to introduce incredible new talent through relegation — something that most other major regions haven’t been able to accomplish over the years. With franchising kicking in, that’ll be a thing of the past, but one can hope that this newfound financial stability will allow Korean teams to foster native talent through Academy rosters and the like.
As of the time of this writing, 25 organizations have applied for the franchised LCK. All 10 currently competing teams have sent in their applications along with the eight organizations from the Korean Challenger series.
The most interesting part, however, is that there are a couple of foreign applicants that came out of left field: NRG eSports, Pittsburgh Knights (an esports group led by the NFL team Pittsburgh Steelers), and world-renown FaZe Clan, as first reported by Fomos. That last one is perhaps the most surprising. The Korean esports consulting group called “World Game Star” has also applied, along with the media network group “Treasure Hunter.”
NRG Esports has already competed in the North American LCS but failed to find much success. They’re currently competing in the Call of Duty League (as the Chicago Huntsmen), Rocket League, and the Overwatch League (as the San Francisco Shock). The fact that they want to return to competitive League should come as no surprise given its popularity.
Finally — as evidenced by the LCS and LEC franchising — there are no guarantees although it’s fair to assume that the biggest teams and brands will make it in. Just because an organization has financial backing doesn’t mean it’ll get selected as a permanent partner. Many factors come into play and we (the fans and the media) only get a certain amount of information. Long-term financial stability and a well-established hierarchy are an absolute must. Many organizations look fine on the outside but are breaking apart from within.
In any case, with such a stellar number of applicants, it’ll be interesting to see who gets in and who doesn’t. We may witness a much different LCK once 2021 comes around.