The players of the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) elected Hal Biagas, former counsel for the NBA Players Association, to be the head of their players association, according to an ESPN report.
As per Riot Games’ directive in the announcement for the players association, the players were given — by Riot — three candidates to be the head of the association, which Riot will fund, at least in the early stages. Following presentations to the players last week, a vote determined Biagas to be the players’ choice, ESPN reports.
“I was contacted by some of the people at Riot, who I guess had heard of me through mutual relationships,” Biagas told ESPN. “And they asked if it’d be something I’d be interested in. I definitely was. I had the opportunity to present to the players last week, and thought it went really well. They asked a lot of really good questions about what this would all mean for them. And here I am — I guess I answered (the questions) pretty well.”
The players association was one part of Riot’s restructuring of the NA LCS next year, which will include operating a franchised league. Riot stated its intent to create a tri-party negotiating with owners, Riot, and the players’ representatives. Although the players picked Biagas, the players were free to vote in another outside the pool as they saw fit.
The community reaction to franchising, the players association and Riot’s involvement in the association remains tepid. There is concern about how independent a players association can be while funded by Riot and run by a Riot-approved candidate, though Riot’s Chris Hopper told Dot Esports Riot will supply the funding for the association — and that’s it.
In addition to his time with the NBPA, Biagas also served as general counsel for Excel Sports Management and the executive vice president of operations for Wasserman Media Group.