Resting On Their Laurels: Which NA LCS Team Is Most Likely To Lose Their Franchising Slot?

Franchising is coming to the North American League Championship Series for the 2018 season. With it, Riot Games announced the creation of ten permanent partners that would be decided through a formal application process, set to begin immediately. Judging the credentials of the current NA LCS teams, there are a handful of organizations who could potentially be denied this partnership, the most likely of them being FlyQuest eSports. 

Permanent partner status in the NA LCS will be a highly coveted position, with the promise of revenue sharing and the stability and security to grow your eSports brand both internally and externally. With a limited number of partner positions available, Riot Games opened the application process to any interested parties, expecting a flurry of interest.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

The clear front-runners for the limited number of slots will naturally be the current teams of the NA LCS, each boasting the advantage of stable rosters and organizational experience, in addition to pre-existing relationships with Riot Games.

Partnership is far from guaranteed however, with some of the NA LCS’ current competitors shadowed by question marks overhanging their future in the league. Failing to meet Riot’s criteria could open the door to an outside organization to steal their seat at the table of permanent partners.

“Part of our evaluation process will be examining how teams will support their pros, not only in coaching and training, but in career opportunities or higher education once their playing career has ended.

“We believe that the best results happen when pros work with teams that they’re motivated and proud to support throughout their careers”

Riot Games Official Announcement

The organization commonly considered to to be in hot water is Team EnVyUs. Likely the NA LCS organization with the smallest fanbase, NV has consistently struggled performance-wise in recent splits and found themselves one game away from being relegated at the end of the 2016 Spring Split.

What separates NV from the other organizations toeing the line however, is that they have a deep history in eSports across multiple different titles. Founded in 2007, NV launched their eSports venture with Call of Duty and now teams currently competing across eight different titles.

This considerable pedigree has provided the organization’s management with invaluable experience running an eSports organization, and proof they know how to create a sustainable and stable model.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Perhaps surprisingly, of all the current teams who may be denied a permanent partner position, perhaps the most likely to disappear from the NA LCS landscape is FlyQuest eSports.

As the newest organization to join the league, FlyQuest has little organizational experience. The brand has failed to branch out to other titles outside of League of Legends, a claim that every other organization in the NA LCS can make.

The reported organizational issues experienced by the team’s roster during their first split as a team will certainly have been noted by Riot Games. Jungler Galen “Moon” Holgate highlighted a number of issues during the first few weeks of the Spring Split, claiming that the team had not yet received their computers and were forced to practice at the LCS Studios.

Source: Riot Games Flickr
Source: Riot Games Flickr

 

This is simply unacceptable behavior for an organization that aspires to be offered a place in the most prominent and profitable eSports league, and could come back to haunt FlyQuest in their application.

Even if a team’s current performance is considered to be a significant factor, these two organizations appear to be on very different trajectories after the first couple weeks of the split.

NV has been one of the biggest surprises of the split and has looked strong even while playing with a substitute mid laner, whilst FlyQuest has struggled greatly even with an “upgraded” roster and only just secured their first series victory against the winless Phoenix1.