All LCK Teams But T1 Reportedly Pushing for Salary Cap

by in League of Legends | Oct, 27th 2021

Nine out of 10 LCK teams are reportedly pushing for a salary cap to be implemented, with T1 being the only exception, as per Upcomer’s Nick Ray. This, in short, seemingly came out of nowhere and — depending on the way it pans out — could greatly affect the LCK and its (staggeringly talented) players. It’s also quite peculiar that all of this is happening mere days before DWG KIA, T1, and Gen.G are scheduled to take the stage and compete for a shot at reaching the 2021 World Championship finals.

Salary caps are always a divisive topic, and, well, it’s easy to understand why. LCK teams that want to implement an NFL/NBA-like structure should also come as no surprise. No specific figure has been reported yet, so we should reserve judgment until we have something a bit more concrete to sink our teeth into.

What Does This Actually Mean?

A salary cap means players would have a hard limit on how much they could earn regardless of whether they’re playing for DWG KIA or ninth-ranked Fredit BRION. And, well, it would limit the biggest stars and standout performers from earning mind-boggling amounts of money. 

It’s a tricky thing to discuss given the fact that there’s no real player union in competitive LoL (not a well-functioning one, at least), and things get more complicated (and challenging to debate) once we factor in each region’s financial “prowess” so to speak. Certain teams would have a much easier time taking advantage of their players, which we fear most whenever this particular topic rears its head. 

Then again, for esports to thrive and persevere, a certain limit has to be implemented. The topic of poaching also warrants a mention. Lower salaries in the LCK would result in its biggest stars leaving for the LPL and LCS — two regions packed with teams and organizations willing to spend big.

Careers in esports are often far too short, so it’s easy to understand why someone would forgo the pride that comes with playing in the LCK for a multi-million dollar contract and sunny Los Angeles weather. It’s a no-brainer.  

There are many pros and cons to this approach. Most Western teams are bleeding money left and right precisely because of their frivolous spending, and it’s quite a big problem. They’re in it for the long run, and while non-endemic sponsors have started to show up (in large numbers, too), it’s still hard to predict what’ll happen going forward and whether esports is as big of a bubble as some claim. 

A global cap would be the way to go (perhaps a tiered system, too), but per-region salary caps would probably end up in a disaster — “probably” being the operative word here.

Still Up in the Air

According to another report, LCK teams did talk about implementing a salary cap, but it wasn’t a “serious” conversation per se, and nothing came of it just yet. Still, the fact that it’s been discussed is quite telling, and it’s fair to assume that something will change soon.

In any case, the LCK hasn’t been this successful in years, and implementing a salary cap at this point would no doubt affect its growth and international competitiveness. What’ll happen remains to be seen, but a big change could very well be on the horizon.


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