Jess Colwill, November 25, 2016

H2K Gaming Weighs in on LoL Relegation Debate

H2K Gaming have released a statement on their website addressing the team’s concerns regarding relegation and franchising in the League of Legends Championship Series.

“Relegation is an issue for all EU LCS (and NA) teams irrespective of prior performance,” their statement reads. “At some point, all teams in all sports have down cycles. The Boston Red Sox appeared in the World Series one year and finished last in their division the next.

"All LoL teams are also subject to certain uncontrollable risks such as disability, prolonged illness, death or major disagreement with one or more key players.

“The risk of poor performance (leading to potential Relegation) is magnified because the starting five consists of only five players so the unavailability of any one is generally devastating; teams cannot afford to maintain quality substitutes for each position.”

"This is the start of a vicious cycle," H2K said. Poor performance due to outside factors and subsequent relegation limits the team’s access to the capital required to keep the team functioning “make sponsors reluctant to make any meaningful financial commitment,” and creates an environment where holding player retention is difficult and drives up costs.

“The teams should not be subject to the risk of having their substantial investments become worthless, and make meaningless the huge personal efforts of the team owners,” the statement continued.

“Unlike the Premier League, relegated teams in the League of Legends do not receive compensation payments from Riot nor do they receive revenue sharing from Riot as occurs with FIFA for a Division 2 soccer team.”

H2K then made some suggestions for Riot to consider. “One possibility is to expand the number of teams in the EU LCS (and NA) to 16 by having the three top teams in the Challenger League added in 2017 and 2018.

“Expanding the leagues to 16 teams (perhaps four divisions) will create more competition and present a broader range of opportunities for the players.

“Thereafter, the Challenger League could be maintained for community-based teams with roots in their communities. The teams will offer younger players the opportunity to develop their skills and talent for the EU LCS teams.

“Perhaps each of the then expanded EU LCS of 16 teams might each have an affiliation with one of the Challenger League teams. This suggested structure is only one of many viable alternatives that permits eliminating the Relegation system.”

The issue of relegation in the League of Legends scene is ongoing, with Riot having stated that it will not be addressing concerns until 2018 for North America and the following year for Europe.

This isn’t the first time a team and their owners have reached out to Riot. Not even a fortnight ago, the owners of NA and EU teams allegedly banded together to write a letter concerning relegation and pay concerns. Perhaps, with the added pressure from teams, Riot will consider acting sooner than 2018-19.

Jess Colwill

Jess is a writer and dog-lover from the eastern coast of Australia, who loves playing games (particularly anything by BioWare), listening to metal, baking, and fostering rescue dogs while they wait for new homes. You can find her on Twitter at @notsocryptic.