Unicorns of Love owner Jos Mallant voiced his concerns Thursday about the financial future in the European League of Legends Championship Series (EU LCS) and the difficulties that come with competing in it.
In an open letter to the League of Legends community, Mallant wrote that as player salaries rise, players have become unwilling to sign multi-year contracts under the premise they could get a better deal from a different team in the next season. That makes branding especially difficult for teams because of constant roster turnover.
“It’s the same when you work with rookies. They usually sign only for a one year contract,” Mallant wrote. “That means you have the risk of taking a no-name starter and/or invest a lot in player exposure, and in the end it does not pay off for the organization. After the contract ends, the player is free to leave without any financial compensation for the organization.”
In terms of the reported change of the EU LCS that will expand the region to 24 teams across four countries instead of the current 10 in one, Mallant wrote that there can be some serious short-term effects. The expansion would reduce the worth of each LCS spot, he wrote, and the costs to move teams would be on the brands. Potential sponsors would be spread thin between 24 teams, who would also play for only three spots at the League of Legends World Championship. Mallant also wrote the quality of the players might dwindle as 24 teams fight over one pool of players, and the top tier might go to NA anyway.
“The only logical step for current organizations and investors is to lower their financial commitment for LOL in the next year(s),” he wrote. “At least as long there is no clear path how organizations come finally to a situation with positive results. The final outcome is that esports in EU will suffer badly, at least in the first years. The discrepancy between the two west leagues, EU and NA, will be simply too large. NA comes with a very large financial investment volume based on a clear plan how investors can come to a return of investment build on a solid as base: a protected licensed league. Everybody can make up their own mind what the consequences will be for the EU player pool and quality of the rosters.”