NA LCS: What Is Franchising And What It Means For The NA LCS

By Alex Whieldon
on Aug 23, 2017

From Phreak’s basement to the building blocks of a stage akin to that of the NBA, Riot has begun the necessary steps to make the NA LCS similar to several sports. No more will a team be able to battle from the amateur scene like we saw with Team 8 back in the day, but now teams will be able to build up a legacy. At least, that is the goal of the franchising that is coming to the North American LCS, but many look at the impact it will have upon the amateur leagues, teams, and players of NA as well as those across the globe.

What Franchising Can Do

The idea of franchising is that teams can start to focus on the organizations themselves as well as the players. Before teams were worried that if they made too risky of a move then they had the potential to be ousted from their seat in the pros. This means that teams can bring in more rookies or try to train more talent to last more than just a split or less. Along with this, it can make it better for fans to follow players that can bring their team success.

But with following players, there is a lot more on the line for these teams. They want to gain more fans and be able to build a brand a lot more. Not all teams can have the grassroots success that Origen had when they first came on the scene. Nor can they all keep up with TSM, CLG, or C9, sometimes they fall to the wayside and struggle to gain fans even if they win time and time again like Team Vulcun. Teams are not going to have to fear about not making the cut into LCS anymore and can put more money into better players, newer talent, and refined exposure.

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CLG Top Laner Darshan and coach Zikz. Photo Reference: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lolesports/

Woes of Franchising

Just because franchising can help a lot, there are still inherent flaws to the program. While the teams and players within NA LCS will be able to flourish, anyone sitting on the sidelines will have a harder battle to fight. Unless you have a lot of money, the dreams of starting a new organization that can perform a triumphant journey in the underground of competitive League are numbered. While this will make it a lot easier for you to root for the teams in the LCS, it means that if you lack an attachment to a team or want to venture into ownership, you will have to move over to EU.

But even in EU, things are looking wary with the change in NA. The rumors of teams looking to migrate to a different league have given people a taste of what franchisement can mean to competitive League on the whole. Many leagues lack the plans or incentive to make their own leagues into anything similar to NA’s. Which is why EU, LPL, LCK, LMS, and many more need to figure out ways to make players and teams want to stay as opposed to moving to Santa Monica to be near the more sure fire thing.

Not to mention the impact it will have on the players. While there are, hopefully, going to be a lot of strides within the collegiate scene, there are still a lot of programs that have yet to be finalized. Collegiate Star League, University League of Legends, CompeteLeague, American Collegiate Esports League are just a few of the names that will be set up to start the groundwork for newer players to make a name for themselves, but so little of this gets the attention warranted. Not like what the Challenger scene had done for new players. This is something that will need to have a pin in it, but questions are abound on whether Riot will properly handle the lower divisions similar to how many major sports have minor league systems.

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