The North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) will remain at 10 teams in next year’s franchise model.
Riot Games announced the decision Friday as part of an update about the upcoming franchise system. Riot tinkered with downsizing to eight or increasing to 12 teams before electing to stay at 10 — even though many more than that applied.
“We believe the esports ecosystem in North America has ample pro talent to support 10 teams and that contracting further would unnecessarily limit opportunities for talented pros,” the announcement reads. “However, to expand further we will first need to concentrate on building a more extensive pipeline of local talent and established organizations. When we talked with the Players Association for pro feedback, they were also strongly in favor of keeping 10 slots for competing teams.”
According to Riot, the criteria for accepting teams included “content creation, sponsor acquisition and retention, storytelling, merch, fan engagement and more.” The final decision will be announced in November.
Teams that don’t get selected can either sell their rosters to participating teams or international ones, or release all of their players to enter free agency. The 10 participating teams can buy those players at the opening of the free agency signing window on Nov. 21.
Teams that didn’t apply or didn’t get selected will have to sell all their contracts or release all of its players to be eligible for an exit fee, which will be distributed from the $3 million-per-team pool attached to franchise fees. Teams will be provided three shares of the overall pool for each split they were involved in the LCS and one share for each split they were involved in the Challenger Series, with a cap of 10 shares for any team.