A new epoch in League of Legends esports began today, as Riot announced the biggest change in the game's competitive history. Franchising, long seen as the boogeyman of the League of Legends competitive scene, is here at last, and Riot will start selling slots in their premier leagues as early as November. Soon the LCS teams will be all but eternal, as nothing short of an improbably long string of mediocrity -- two and a half years, to be precise --will be able to remove a team from the league, at least for performance reasons. With the removal of relegation, teams will have access to more resources than ever, and thus wield more power than ever before.
Thankfully, Riot has preemptively taken measures to protect the League's most valuable resources, players, from potential abuse from the newly empowered organizations. The new franchise system will be launched side by side with The Player's Association, an organization that will be dedicated to representing players during their interactions with both teams and Riot. In addition to providing advocacy, the organization will also provide instruction in some core skills that will benefit the players in the long run, such as financial planning and other various life skills.
All of the details are yet to get worked out, as The Player's Association will function independently of Riot Games, which complicates the legal processes required to set it up in the first place. One core detail of the association is assured, however, and that is its independence. Players will elect their own representatives to the organization, and while Riot will provide some recommended names for consideration, the ultimate choice is down to the players.
In order to simplify the founding of this complex new organization, Riot provided some simple steps that outline how the process will, in theory, work.
Step One: Vote
A short list of representatives will present to NA LCS Players in June — players vote as a group on who to represent them. Players can also vote to reject all candidates. In this case, we would either provide additional candidates for them to screen or accept representation that they have elected independently.
Step Two: Plan
The newly elected Players' Association representatives will have July through September to get up to speed organizationally and to meet with players.
Step Three: Represent
Fully launched, the Players' Association provides centralized representation for players in tri-party negotiations (Riot-Owners-Players); they also provide access to vetted resources (e.g. legal/financial advice) to help players planning out their careers.
For more information about the franchising system itself, check out WWG's article on the subject from earlier today. If you're more interested in the application process and who you might see in the new league, we got you covered there as well.