Insomnia 69: UK esports personalities on franchising in esports and the future of leagues

Excel Vitality LEC tie-breaker

Team franchise slots in the League of Legends LEC are continuing to rise in value

With the emergence of Valorant two years ago, the esports scene has fallen in love with the game, with a growing UK scene in particular.

Riot’s other major esports title, League of Legends (LoL), has become a successful esports franchise, with team spots in the LEC rising from around €8-10m at launch to now reportedly upwards of €35m. With the success of Valorant’s esport scene, Riot has now announced a franchising model for the game.

Other esport titles with franchising include the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, and there was the CSGO franchise Flashpoint.

Of course, with teams only able to buy their way in, it means the best grassroots teams cannot promote to the big franchised leagues without gaining investment – something UK org Excel Esports did when they bought into the LEC a few years ago.

While at insomnia 69, we decided to asked some figureheads of UK esports for their opinions of franchising within esports.

“It potentially works when the publisher is the driving force so for example, look at League of Legends.

The LEC is a phenomenal success, I am very lucky to have worked on that show. They have their own studio, their own weekly schedule. It is a tough schedule.”

Frankie Ward, esports host

The full Frankie Ward interview can be found here:

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“I am a fan of franchising, no doubt about that, because you’re dealing with somebody else’s IP and instantly they take control of their own IP.

They bring in partners through franchising, I like that system. Their is room for league and games that don’t have franchising, there always will be.

Personally, I’ve always been wanted some kind of governance for esports, and I don’t think anybody still, even myself, has worked out the best way for that to happen. But knowing franchising from the leagues that I’ve been involved in, having a developer governing their own game makes sense.”

Michael ‘ODEE’ O’Dell, London Royal Ravens

“Everything has their pros and cons, franchising is really good for the player. You get more security, contracts are way better, we get a lot of benefits

Stability is the main thing but in the CWL days you could just get dropped. No repercussions, if you’re bad you go, franchising helps with that.

I do like the model of city based franchising, it’s not like they are just from the UK, we own the UK. I feel like it helps a lot of people out in terms of who they want to support.”

Trei “Zer0” Morris, London Royal Ravens

The full ODEE and Trei interview can be found here:

“It’s something that allows Leagues to grow and it’s a lot better to bring in more sponsorships coming into tournaments, and builds up that spectactal within esports.

But for people wanting to get in the scene, it is not as easy and for bringing new teams in it is a real struggle.”

John Jackson from Esports Wales

Will Valorant have a successful franchise system? What does the future hold for the waning Overwatch League? Time will tell.

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