The South Korean professional League of Legends League, LCK, has introduced new financial regulations and a salary cap. Multiple teams were calling for more regulations for quite some time now. Now new official rules and policies were announced.
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LCK's New Sporting Financial Regulations
The LCK is one of the biggest and most successful Esport leagues in the world. Legendary franchises with a long and successful history like T1, Gen.G or DRX are competing in the league. Nevertheless, in the last couple of years more and more orgs were calling for new financial regulations, due to increasing losses.
They were heard by the league's officials. New regulations were announced by the official LCK Twitter account on July, 19th. The new regulations are part of the so-called "Sporting Financial Regulations" (SFR) and will be in effect with the start of the 2023 offseason.
As a part of the many measures to ensure the LCK maintains sustainable growth, Sporting Financial Regulations will be introduced starting in the 2023 offseason. The SFR seeks to allow the sustainable growth of teams, players and the league by regulating each team's salary expenditures to an appropriate level
So this sort of "salary cap" will be dependent on the general income of the franchise, slightly comparable to the financial regulations of the Spanish football league La Liga. But obviously with some differences.
At the same time, players who perform well or compete for a long time with one team will be given a variety of benefits in order to foster star players
Well, seems like some long-standing players, Faker for example, shouldn't be scared about their future salary at all. And it's a way to hold the big names in the teams and in the league.
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The Twitter statement ends with a short rewind of past regulations and a set goal for the future
The LCK has continued to enact various policies and measures to support sustainable team and league growth, including last year's agent authorization and rookie development systems. The LCK hopes these systems will pave the way for the LCK to become a premium global league enjoyed for generations.
Conclusion And Reactions
It will be interesting to see, which impact these new regulations will have. Some teams might be forced to let their star players go, to live up to the new set salary standards. One thing we learned from other sports, where salary caps are discussed is, that a cap like this only works, if everyone participates.
So some players might move to other regions like China or NA, where a lot of money is in the system. The reactions by the fans were mostly positive towards the new regulations. But some users were critical as well. Obviously, a big discussion started on the LoL Subreddit.
For example, the user "Scrub4Life734" wondered:
At the same time, players who perform well or compete for a long time with one team will be given a variety of benefits in order to foster star players.
so the LCK just want to limit player movement between teams, thus reducing players salary. Why would the players be happy with this? The average salary of the league will go down tremendously. And why should LCK players care about the long term health of the league when their careers are 2-3 years on average?
Some other users were also wondering if the new salary cap could lead to another exodus of pro-players to other regions:
For example, the user "Intreped-Painter-483": "Korean exodus round 2. and before people say LPL has a salary cap too they just bypass it through streaming contracts". Or the user "gloiathfasa": "So they want another Korean exodus to China."
On the other side, some users were describing the changes as positive for the LCK and the orgs. For example, the user "The_Real_BenFranklin" who wrote:
Theoretically it’s better for the ecosystem overall by stopping teams running themselves into the ground, and in the long run it should help foster parity by not allowing the richest teams to just say outspend everyone else.
Right now, everyone is waiting for further information about the topic and the reactions of the pro-teams and their players. Only the future will show, how big the impact of the new financial regulations will be. And it will be interesting to see if other leagues will introduce similar policies in the coming months.
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