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Riot Games Korea announces 10 finalists for 2021 LCK franchises

Riot Games Korea recently announced the 10 finalists for the upcoming LCK franchising that will be implemented beginning in 2021. 

Just as we have seen in the LEC, LCS, and LPL, the top Korean league will now transform into a franchised format. This means that ten teams will be chosen for a secured position in the league starting next year, without the chance of being relegated as has traditionally been the case. 

According to esports journalist Ashley Kang, Riot has chosen the ten teams that they will be primarily negotiating with for these spots. Every team, with the exception of Brion Esports, is already participating in the LCK. Brion Esports will be looking to join the league for the first time and bring a new name to the scene, something that we've also seen in other regions.  

Which teams are entering franchising for LCK 2021?

The only LCK team that is left out is SeolHaeOne Prince, who ended the summer split in last place with only one win. The team entered the league through the 2020 Spring Promotion and has not had a great year in the league. 

It was further reported that Riot has chosen five other candidates for franchising in case negotiations with one of the 10 selected teams fall through. The five teams include SeolHaeOne Prince and several teams that are currently participating in the second-best Korean league, Challengers Korea. Jin Air Greenwings is the most recognizable name of the five, having participated in the LCK for many years. The organization was relegated in the 2020 Spring Promotion after losing a deciding match to Hanwha Life Esports

The franchise format in Korea is something that the community has been waiting for after seeing the success it has brought the other major leagues around the world. The new format will help make the league more stable, especially for its participants. 

A new rule states that organizations must pay a minimum salary of 60 million Korean won per year to each player, which is around $50,000 USD. This will eliminate particularly bad contracts in the league, something that has been an issue in the LCK since its origin. Players will now get better work conditions, while the league’s brand will hopefully grow stronger at the same time. There's also a hope that players will be given more reason to remain in Korea rather than being imported to other better paying regional leagues around the world.

The franchise format will be implemented from the 2021 LCK Spring Split, so we should be expecting an official announcement from Riot Games Korea including the final list of teams within the next few months. 

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