UPDATE: In a separate report from OSEN’s Ko Yong-jun, SK Telecom’s team manager of sports marketing, Oh Kyung-sik said that “the contracts were created around what the players wanted,” and although he didn’t share any details with OSEN, but did say that “the players would not have signed on if they did not have love for the team, regardless of pay,” that the company understands that “the players and coaches could be making much more money,” and that he was “thankful” of their decision to stay with the team.
The buzz has been extreme during the professional League of Legends offseason, and naturally one of the most anticipated moments was when Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, the world’s best player, was going to play.
Almost predictably so, Faker re-signed with two-time defending world champions, SK Telecom T1, with the announcement coming late Monday night.
As has been the case for some time, speculation was rampant as to just how much money SKT offered Faker, with no concrete numbers shared, only that SKT has given him “the best possible offer” which enticed the world’s best to re-sign.
An article from Ilgan Sports’ Kwon Oh-yong cited an unnamed industry insider who came forth to give an estimate of just how much money SKT might have offered Faker.
“I looks like SKT has offered him at least three billion Korean Won (over $2.5 million),” the source told Ilgan Sports. “This is much higher than the average professional basketball player, and almost the amount that the pro baseball players make.”
The article goes on the extrapolate that the reasoning behind that specific number is because of the fact that Faker was making over $850,000, including incentives, before this year and because in 2015, Jang “Marin” Kyung-hwan has been known in Korea to sign on with China’s LGD Gaming with a roughly $1.7 million deal. Therefore, logically, SKT would have to make such a sizable offer in order to compete with Chinese ones.
It’s important to note, as this story takes off in Western markets, that the source quoted in the Ilgan Sports article was basing his speculation off of external factors and did not appear to have concrete knowledge of Faker’s actual contract.
The same article also reached out to an SKT representative who only said that they “calculated (Faker’s) salary based on the global market” and refused to go into detail.
The exact amount of money Faker was offered by SKT is still a mystery, but with speculation flying, fans should be wary when reading articles that don’t site people with concrete knowledge of the situation. It’s entirely possible that his contract is indeed worth that much (if not more), but it’s important to point out this article is based purely on estimation and speculation.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games