A former championship team might be switching regions and joining the LPL in 2021.
According to different sources on Chinese platform Weibo, Taiwanese organization J Team might be in the process of acquiring eStar’s slot in the LPL.
J Team is owned by actor and singer Jay Chou and sponsored by the Taipei City Government. J Team joined the LMS in 2016 when the team acquired Season 2 world championship squad Taipei Assassins. After being rebranded as J Team, the organization continued to compete in the LMS and then secured a spot in the franchised PCS. The team last qualified for the World Championship in 2019. According to the report, J Team would be taking over for eStar, which had been the newest organization in the LPL.
eStar joined the LPL in December 2019 as the newest team in the league. The organization had former pro player Liu “PDD” Mou as one of its founders, so there were some big expectations for the team. PDD is one of the owners of Young Miracles, an organization competing in the LDL, China’s tier-two league. Young Miracles is known for giving a start to some of the players that end up becoming stars, such as former World Champions Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang and Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning.
eStar had a good showing in the spring and reached playoffs. Summer was a different story, as the team finished the regular season in 16th place.
J Team already secured a franchise in the PCS, but having a franchise slot in the LPL should be significantly more lucrative for the organization. The LPL is one of the four major regions in competitive League of Legends and the only one that is constantly expanding, as the goal is to host a league with 20 teams. So far, the LPL has 17 teams and will look to expand in the following years. Joining the LPL means attracting bigger investors and getting exposed to a largest audience.
Securing a franchise in the LPL would a big move for J Team, a team that has been highly competitive in its original region. What this move would mean for the team as currently composed, and who the PCS might persue to replace J Team, remains unknown.