After months of collaboration, KeSPA, Riot Games and OnGameNet have announced the final version of their ’2015 Season LoL eSports League Reform Plan’. Key topics include switching formats to a league system in the vein of the Chinese LPL, renaming the NLB to League of Legends Challengers Korea, introduction of a 20 million Korean Won (KRW) minimum salary for professional players, and establishing a promotion/relegation system. The full press release is available below.
Korean eSports Association (“KeSPA”), Riot Games, and OnGameNet (“3 Parties”) would like to announce the final version of the ‘2015 Season LoL eSports League Reform Plan’.
During the past 3 months, the 3 Parties have been aware of the many issues inherent in the current LoL eSports system and tournament format, and have been trying to prepare a springboard for the Korean LoL eSports to leap one step further through the newly launching 2015 Season.
While preparing the 2015 Season Reform Plan, we tried to collect various opinions from pro-players, teams, industry stakeholders, and our players, but some of our efforts were not entirely satisfactory. We assure you, however, that we placed utmost priority on the long-term growth of eSports and the protection of players’ rights and welfare when we finalized this 2015 Season Reform Plan. The 3 Parties will continue to heed to the voices of many fans who love and support eSports.
We would like to ask for your continued support for the upcoming 2015 Season of LoL eSports.
New League Format
2015 LoL Champions Korea will change from its previous tournament format to a full-league format. This change to the league format, which was adopted to help teams and players participate in competitions more consistently, will also help improve the welfare of pro-players. ‘2015 LoL Champions Korea – Spring Split’, which will launch in early January, will be run as a full-league for approximately 4 months.
While the full-league format has the advantage of providing pro-teams and players a stable source of competitive activity, it also has the disadvantage of being less entertaining compared to the tournament format. In order to minimize this disadvantage and additionally offer an opportunity to players in the semi-pro tier who are aspiring to be promoted, the 3 Parties have agreed to adopt Promotions/Relegations immediately following the end of ‘2015 LoL Champions Korea – Spring Split’. When the Spring Split is finished, pro-teams and semi pro-teams will compete in Promotions/Relegations to secure their spot in the next ‘2015 LoL Champions Korea – Summer Split”.
As we are transitioning to a full-league format, there are not many stable company-owned or club teams that can fully operate and manage their teams throughout the whole split. Thus, 2015 Season Spring Split will first kick off with 8 teams. 6 out of 8 teams (Samsung, KT, Najin, CJ, SKT and Jin Air) have been awarded spots for the Spring Split based on their past performance (accumulative circuit points in 2014) and history of stable team management. The remaining 2 teams will be determined through ‘Seed Qualifier Tournament’ (please refer to (6) below for details on Seed Qualifier Tournament).
For 2015 Summer Split, we plan to increase the number of participating teams to 10 teams in order to expand opportunities for pro-players to participate.
During the Promotions/Relegations following the 2015 Spring Split, bottom 2 teams from Champions Korea and top 4 teams from the semi-pro tier will compete to determine the final 4 teams that will join the 2015 Summer Split.
We would like to inform you of the following new regulations that will be newly implemented to protect the eSports pro-players and improve their welfare.
A) Mandatory Roster
While first planning the launch of the league system, the 3 Parties became aware of the necessity for two corporate teams to be combined to one, so we reviewed the possibility of requesting corporate teams to incorporate a 10-person roster requirement to allow pro-players to stay in their original teams. However, having listened to many fans’ opinions and criticisms that the 10-person roster is not suitable for the current LoL eSports market, we decided not to forcefully adopt this policy. All LoL eSports teams may participate in the pro tier and semi-pro tier leagues if they can secure the roster of 5 players to play the game.
B) Minimum Salary Policy
In the past, there have been many instances where eSports pro-players were inadequately compensated for their talent. The 3 Parties are planning to incorporate a “minimum salary of KRW 20 million” as a rule for teams participating in the league to follow, after having decided that the pro-players active in the pro field should be warranted a minimum level of welfare. Every pro-player entering a contract with pro-teams will earn a minimum salary of KRW 20 million (~$18,000) as income. This amount does not include profit generated through streaming or prize(s) from tournaments/league.
C) Mandatory Contract Term
Similar to the minimum salary policy, “mandatory contract term of at least 1 year” will also be introduce. In other words, pro-teams will need to sign with pro-players for at least a one year in the future. This will help pro-players lead a stable professional career.
However, teams may act as the principal agents of pro-players in transfer negotiations since they will possess the right for the said signed pro-player for the duration of the contract. If a team wishes to release a player against his will during the duration of the contract, the team is obligated to pay the remaining salary of the said player.
The 3 Parties will continuously invest beyond what we have invested and provided thus far for the advancement of LoL eSports to not only strengthen the league but to improve the welfare of pro-players.
Riot Games will provide the minimum salary for 5 players in each team’s minimum roster. In addition, non-corporate teams without sponsors will receive not only aid for player salaries, but also aid for cost related to team operation and management. Regardless of the changes to the number of players applicable for salary aid, the total amount that Riot Games will be providing for the support of pro-teams remains unchanged. Please kindly understand that specific amount of the support will not be disclosed
Please see below for the detailed schedule ahead of the launch of ‘LoL Champions Korea – Spring Split’. For more information on the Seed Qualifier tournament, please refer to future announcement on the Riot Games homepage (http://www.leagueoflegends.co.kr).
|Seed Qualifier tournament||(Preliminaries)
|Eligibility||Teams with at least 5 players with own accounts who are 17 years or older|
|Application||11/11~11/14 (4 days) / Online application*For details, please see the announcement on LoL official homepage|
|Format||Single tournament with 4 groups / Best of 3|
|Location||Yongsan eSports Stadium|
|Teams||Top 4 teams to qualify in the preliminaries|
|Format||4-team full league / Single matches
(with tiebreakers if necessary)
|Location||Busan Bexco Auditorium|
(Schedule subject to change pending future circumstances)
There will also be a Preseason lasting approximately a month with a single-round full-league format starting late November. The final 8 teams that will participate in the 2015 Spring Split will be participating in this Preseason. In addition, full-league format ‘2015 LoL Champions Korea – Spring Split’ will start in early January for approximately 4 months. Once the Spring Split is over, Promotions/Relegations tournament will take place for approximately 1 week.
New Title – League of Legends Challengers Korea
NLB, which has previously represented the LoL Semi-Pro tier in Korea, will evolve with the new title of ‘LoL Challengers Korea’. Challengers Korea will not only become the battle arena for aspiring pros, but also provide another chance for teams that have been demoted from Champions Korea to once again climb up the ladder.
Changes in Competition Format
Two open tournaments will be held during the 2015 Spring Split. Any team with 5 players who have their own Korean accounts with Gold tier or higher may participate in these tournaments. ‘Challengers’ points will be awarded to teams according to their performance, and 4 teams with the highest Challengers points will advance to Promotions/Relegations tournament to compete against the bottom 2 teams from Champions Korea.
Furthermore, Challengers Korea will also switch to a full-league format in the Summer Split, and teams with the highest Challengers points will be provided seeds to participate in this league. We decided to implement step-by-step changes to ensure the highest quality of games and reliable execution during the transition phase.
Once Challengers Korea has transitioned to a full-league format in the Summer Split, Riot Games and NGTV will provide participating Challengers teams accommodations and sponsorship opportunities to help establish a stable practice environment for the semi-pro players
Please refer to the announcement on the Riot Games website (http://www.leagueoflegends.co.kr) for more details.