It looks like a UK esports organisation will be playing in the top-tier of European League of Legends next year.
Developer Riot Games has reportedly selected exceL Esports as one of the teams to fill a slot in the EU LCS.
That's according to this story written by ESPN's Jacob Wolf, who was last week awarded Journalist of the Year at the 2018 Esports Awards and has built up a reputation for getting news correct, ahead of official announcements.
Jacob reports that sources close to Riot and the teams have revealed that exceL will be taking a slot alongside Splyce, in place of Movistar Riders and North, which have fallen through.
Several Esports News UK sources also confirmed to us that exceL had submitted an application to join the EU LCS, with one source saying their application was "bloody good". exceL has not responded to our requests for comment.
Jacob also reports that RFRSH Entertainment has acquired Origen from former pro player and Origen founder Enrique "xPeke" Cedeño Martínez, and that Origen will be playing in the LCS too.
Riot is expected to make its full franchise slot teams on Tuesday November 20th. In the meantime, here are the orgs that are expected to be announced:
As of late last week, the #EULCS reported franchise partners are (list based off ownership HQ):
🇩🇪 G2 Esports
🇩🇪 Schalke 04
🇫🇷 Team Vitality
🇩🇰 Origen (owned by RFRSH)
🇬🇧 exceL Esports
🇩🇪 SK Gaming
— Jacob Wolf (@JacobWolf) November 19, 2018
Back in September, exceL Esports announced they had secured investment from Guinevere Capital in a bid to take their operations "to the next level". If the LCS rumour is true, what would happen to Guinevere's other League of Legends team, Dire Wolves? They currently play in the Oceanic Pro League, and Riot's rules state that an org or group cannot own more than one team competing in a professional LoL tournament.
Last week exceL MD Kieran Holmes-Darby put out a jovial tweet, but in hindsight could he have been sneakily suggesting some major news is on the cards?
So I'm grinding away at the moment and working ridiculously hard but haven't tweeted about it... so how are the esports community gonna know how hard I am working? 👊[Insert cliche hashtags such as #watchthisspace]
— Kieran Holmes-Darby (@xL_Kieran) November 14, 2018
Esports News UK said at the time of the investment news in a comment piece that exceL are leading the pack in UK League of Legends, and are continuing to surprise us with their developments. If ESPN's report is true, this would certainly be the biggest surprise yet.
Imagine cheering for an actual UK organisation in EU LCS matches (alongside Fnatic, which is technically a UK-based org but hasn't gone from nothing to the top in the space of a few years like exceL would).
That would be #xLing, indeed.
Thanks to David Holly for the news tip