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LCK Teams release joint statement criticising Riot failings

LCK Teams release joint statement criticising Riot failings
Image via Riot Games

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch

Published 

17th Jan 2024 12:55

The teams of the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) have publicly expressed their concerns about the league's sustainability. According to a translation, the teams have been seeking changes for the past three years but to no avail, prompting a public statement and a list of demands for Riot Games.

Financial and operational challenges in LCK

The teams voiced their concerns about the league's financial and operational status.Twitter account @LCKsubs has translated the statement, and despite the LCK's growing viewership and performance, "the league's business value has not been able to grow" correspondingly in the past three years.

The statement points out a downward trend in team profit distribution, which is "growing negatively and decreasing every year." Further, the teams expressed worry about Riot Games' diminishing investment in both LOL Esports and the LCK.

They describe issues such as "delays in providing competition servers for practice matches and frequent errors occurring in-game clients." This declining support is leading to concerns over the league's sustainability and its ability to support players effectively.

Providing a measurement stick, the teams compared the LCK's structure and financial situation with that of professional baseball in Korea. They highlighted, according to the translation, that despite the LCK being promoted as a global professional sports league, "the subscription fee is reported to be higher than that of professional baseball, Korea's representative professional sports league."

Yet, when it came to the number of games and annual league revenue distribution, the LCK allegedly lagged significantly behind.

Call for dialogue and sustainable solutions

The teams have laid out specific demands for Riot and the LCK Commissioner, seeking a more sustainable future for the league. As per the translated statement, these demands include "expanding investment in dedicated LCK personnel and sharing the commissioner’s right of confidence," along with improving "the league business structure, including sales distribution."

As mentioned in the statement, the public release of these concerns comes after years of unfruitful private discussions and a unilateral approach from the LCK in conveying Riot's policies. The teams emphasise their need for a more balanced approach, where they are not just responsible for the league's challenges and fulfilling their obligations.

Crucially, the statement claims that prior communication with Riot Games about teams going public with the information was met with the threat of fines. In a contrasting perspective, T1's CEO Joe Marsh shared on Twitter that the World Winner had not wanted to be part of the public letter.

Marsh stated, "We told them we wouldn’t comment publicly as to not hurt their cause," but decided to take a stance on the statement when they were included as one of the teams in the public statement, highlighting T1's preference for private discussions with the LCK.

The LCK has kicked off again, with NongShim REDFORCE taking a win over DRX in the opener, followed by the league's classico in T1 vs. Gen.G. 

Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch is a Senior Esports Journalist at GGRecon. He's been creating content in esports for over 10 years, starting with Warcraft 3.

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