Making Professional League of Legends Sustainable

It is day two of the open conversation between some of the biggest voices in the League community. To summarize for those of you who have not been furiously reading the twilonger and reddit posts:

Day1: ReginaId, owner of TSM, makes a statement in an interview regarding patching and the changes in the game put strain on Professional Players. Marc Merril, co-founder of Riot, responds with those who adapt to patches are what makes strong teams, and the Regi should spend more on his players and on League instead of on other eSports. There is many responses from the community, but the notables are Montecristo, YamatoCannon, and Thooorin. They for the most part back Regi. Regi also releases a response to explain his reasoning and response to each “attack” Merril makes.

Day2: Merril apologises and said that emotions got the best of him, and he did not mean to be mean, but the larger issues within League are now out in the open for discussion. Such as player sustainability. Regi responds that he understands but there will be a proposal, coming from LCS Teams and Players, for Merril tomorrow.

Feel free to read this Reddit TL;DR by Reddit user /u/Nami_makes_me_wet if that short synopsis is not enough to bask in all the drama.

professional league

Is League/eSports Really Sustainable?

Only time will tell if professional players are really able to sustain themselves after leaving the spotlight of the professional scene. Players who left the scene early are nearly forgotten, especially those on the smaller teams (Shout out to Lautemortis from JLew’s squad). The lime light passed by in what many of us early players felt was an instant. In that time many players have left for various reasons. These players neither had any real long term payment options, nor the prize support large enough to last years.

While numbers are not readily available, there are some speculations stating that some of the best players today are paid around 200k a year by their teams. Teams have come out saying that Riot holds strict sponsorship rules which makes it almost impossible for teams to create outside revenue.

Most professional athletes outside of eSports hold their own sponsorships with major companies as well as with their National League, and their team. A pro athlete holds a base salary with the team that they play for. They also receive bonuses based upon Jersey sales and team endorsements. Players then also have personal endorsements to make money on top of that. Even the young players starting out in a Pro Sport has enough  to live on.

League team owners and Riot have to work closely in creating a strong base for the Pro Players to grow, otherwise the players end up burnt out. High turnaround creates a difficulty in franchising. Poor franchising leads to a poor following. A poor following leads to no growth.

Now will eSports follow the path of traditional Sports in the way players are paid? It might, but that requires time and capital. Does this mean that Regi should dump all of his millions into League to possibly see it’s sustainability? Probably not. Any investment banker would know that, if you put one too many eggs into a basket you risk losing it all. To nullify risk bankers invest into many baskets. eSports owners have only rightfully followed suit to creating a diverse portfolio.

It’s not one man’s job to create a sustainable world. We all need to pitch in. No national league was built over night. We are witnessing the creation of a new spectator sport, and as a community have to promote forward growth. It took traditional sports years and even decades to become as large as they are now. As a community, I believe that  we can grow eSports in even half the time.


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