It’s been rumoured for a little while now and today it’s been confirmed – Swiss esports organisation Team BDS has acquired Schalke 04’s LEC slot for €26.5m.
The deal has been announced after a five-month process, and will see BDS – which competes in games like Rocket League and Rainbow Six – operate in the LEC from the 2022 Spring Season. BDS also has a League of Legends team in the French LFL, which will continue as usual.
Schalke will take all proceeds from the transfer and Riot/the LEC will not take a cut.
Schalke 04 will owns the player contracts until the end of the season and there will be no direct impact from the sale on the players until the free agency period in November.
Riot said that what happens with the Schalke 04 Prime League academy team and its players ‘is yet to be determined’.
It also said the Riot selling team made the final call who to sell to, and that the LEC retains the right to veto applicants, based on ‘the evaluation of various aspects including, but not limited to, the ownership group, the business plan, the organisational structure, the brand, the content plan, the team operations, and of course the overall alignment with the league’s values and goals’.
“As members of the LEC, we can now make our talent shine at the highest European level. Driven by performance, our ambition for the LEC is to feature among the best teams, with the objective of carrying Switzerland to the World Championships one day,” Team BDS said in a press release on its website.
“It is a great honor for us to have been chosen to be the successor of a such prestigious organisation as FC Schalke 04, and we are proud to follow in their footsteps.”
Schalke said it hurt to announce they’re leaving the LEC, but in their statements they left the door open to take part in esports in other ways. The cash-strapped club had previously said they were looking to exit the LEC following their relegation from the German Bundesliga football league.
Schalke have etched themselves into League of Legends history over the past five or six years, having held initial player trials in 2016, signed Caedrel and other UK scene players including Innaxe over the years.
They became a bit of a bogey team to UK org Excel, who have missed out on playoffs to them a couple of times now.
Schalke’s head of esports, Tim Reichert, said: “Today we are sad and proud at the same time to confirm a landmark deal for European esports and football, the sale of our LEC slot.
“When we started here five years ago, it was very small and all very new, and when you look at everything we’ve achieved and what’s now happened, it hurts. It hurts because you’ve poured your heart into it.”
On the news, Riot Games/LEC said in a press release: “We are happy to welcome the Swiss organisation, Team BDS, to the LEC come 2022 Spring Split!
“Although still quite young, Team BDS is already a well-established and accomplished organisation, dedicated to the growth of esports while remaining close to the community. Home to talented player rosters across several games, Team BDS is on its way to becoming a new force to be reckoned with within competitive gaming. The BDS LFL team is one of the top competitors in the French league, having finished in the top four of the regular 2021 Spring Split and the Spring Playoffs.”
Riot continued: “While we are looking forward to welcoming Team BDS to the LEC, we will never forget the fantastic years we spent with Schalke 04 whose miracle run was one of the most memorable LEC storylines since its inception. We want to thank Schalke 04 for five amazing years and for always being fantastic partners, also throughout the entire sale process. You will be greatly missed!
“Schalke 04 will continue to compete in the LEC until the end of the 2021 season. We wish the team the best of luck in their remaining matches and look forward to making some great final memories together. At the same time, we cannot wait to see how Team BDS will shake things up starting next Spring Split. We believe the org will be a great addition to the LEC.”
Schalke are currently joint seventh in the LEC Summer 2021 Season, along with Excel and Astralis, with two wins and five losses.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.