Faker Was Offered $20 Million A Year To Move To China
As arguably the best esports athlete of all time, definitely within in the realms of League of Legends at least, Lee "Faker" Sang-Hyeok is synonymous with the organisation he represents, having been with T1 since 2013 and winning three World Championships. The mid-lane phenomenon is even a part-owner of the organisation, having built an undying legacy since the days of SK Telecom T1. However, Faker is still just a League of Legends player despite his status, and much like every other professional, he's open to transfers when contracts end and negotiations begin once again.
With his status, especially in Asia, it would be naive to believe that Faker doesn't get approached to leave T1, and now it has come to light that even in this recent off-season, the bids have poured in to try and pry the LoL behemoth in a different direction.
T1 CEO Joe Marsh Reveals Chinese Orgs Bid 20 Million For Faker
Prior to T1's remarkable un-defeated LCK Spring Split run, in which they took home the championship trophy with a 20-0 record, Faker's current contract was up for renewal. Going into the off-season off the back of a semi-final loss at Worlds, T1's CEO Joe Marsh admitted that a whopping $20 million bid was placed before Faker, to which he turned down.
Speaking in the Trash-Talk podcast, hosted by former League of Legends professional, Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, Joe Marsh revealed the steps which T1 had to take to keep Faker, albeit it wasn't as hard as it may seem to have the mid-laner turn down the massive cash bonus from China.
"He has his family that is really important to him," Marsh said. "He doesn’t need money, like, he has money. He’s super successful. He’s made really strong investments in Korea. I mean, there’s literally a building he owns called Faker Tower," he added, reiterating that it's not money that will ever see Faker leave.
But the offers still come in. "He always gets offers. Even this off-season, I flew out to Korea after free agency started, because he was a free agent. Every time he's a free agent, the offer from China comes in, $20 million a year to come. But it's not about money."
Faker Turns Down $20 Million Offers For Respect And Championships With T1
Who's head wouldn't be turned, at least for a second, by a $20 million offer - possibly making him the most-paid player in esports history? Well, whilst he may have been tempted, the bottom line for Faker is winning, and the current LCK records that he continues to smash with this untouchable T1 roster have proved his choice was right.
"It's about rapport and the infrastructure around him," Marsh continued. "It's not about just money, it's about the intangibles and building those relationships. It's making sure that you're building a system with an infrastructure that he feels comfortable around and that he feels like we're building a winner."
Having added yet another trophy to his collection this week, all eyes are on Faker and T1 to see if they can do the unthinkable and win a fourth World Championship.