Jess Colwill, November 28, 2016

RUMOR: Riot Coercing NA LCS Teams to Sign Unfavourable Agreement

According to anonymous sources close to the events, all ten North American LCS teams have signed a new agreement from Riot Games regarding monetization for the LCS. The Esports Observer reports that Riot allegedly used the threat of one-sided poaching restrictions to coerce reluctant teams into signing the unfavorable agreement.

You may recall earlier this month how the EU and NA LCS teams joined forces in order to write a letter to Riot requesting changes in the way the tournament worked, particularly with regard to player salaries and relegation.

The agreement that has allegedly been signed implements few (if any) of the changes outlined in the letter. As such, it appears that Riot has resorted to outright threats in order to coax teams into signing their newest contract. 

One of the Observer’s sources claims that Riot stated they will block any effort Cloud9 makes to sell its spare spot for next year’s LCSa sale that could earn C9 around $1 millionunless the team signs the agreement.

Another source claimed that Riot would ensure the right of Echo Fox, a team conspicuous for its absence from the challenging letter from team owners, to poach players from teams that don’t sign the agreement. While teams themselves may consider boycotting LCS, they run the risk of having their best players potentially lured away to Echo Fox (or any other team that chooses to accept the new agreement).

It needs to be spelled out that this is merely a rumor at this point in time with no solid evidence to back it up. The sources aren’t ours, and they provided their statements to a different publication. So feel free to take any (or all) of this information with a grain of salt.

Riot issued an official statement on the rumors saying, “We’ve been fully committed to talks with the NA LCS owners regarding their participation in the 2017 seasonas such, there was no discussion of the process of selling slots should teams not wish to participate or of contravening our rules to allow the poaching of players currently under contract.”

However, another anonymous source reports that Echo Fox have already made good on this League-sponsored poaching and have subsequently attempted to poach a player away from another team.

Without a current resolution to this ongoing issue, be sure to check back as we will be providing updates on any new developments that arise. 

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.