As the majority of SK Telecom T1’s roster face expiring contracts, the Korean team has extended Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s contract to 2021.
While Faker’s new salary with the contract hasn’t been made public, it’s been rumored that his base salary last year was $2.5 million, making him one of the highest paid esports players of all time.
League of Legends fans speculated that Faker would be leaving SKT during last year’s offseason as an expiring contract loomed up ahead. Last year, SKT hadn’t even qualified for Worlds, a huge blow to the squad. Instead, SKT extended the contract into the 2019 season, but Faker didn’t seem to be performing up to expectations.
The Unkillable Demon King was benched during the LCK Summer Split halfway through a series against Griffin. SKT, who have won the World Championship three times, were in ninth place and it seemed they wouldn’t make it to Worlds again.
Despite their shaky season, SKT fought their way to Europe for this year’s World Championship event. It seemed like things were picking up for SKT and for Faker. The undisputed best LoL player of all time won his 100th international game in the quarterfinals, continuing his legacy. Unfortunately, SKT wouldn’t see the finals stage.
Faker was visibly distraught after the team’s loss to G2, a loss that kept them from the grand finals. In a post-match conference, Faker told reporters that big changes could be coming to SKT, but the team’s coach didn’t seem too keen to switch up the roster.
By signing Faker again, it’s possible that coach Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun has no plans to switch up the team’s strategy or roster at all. Then again, kkOma himself may no longer be with the team next year to watch over Faker’s next campaign.
It’s not yet clear who will be playing with Faker on SK Telecom T1. Park “Teddy” Jin-seong is the only other player on the starting roster to have a contract active through 2020. Every other player on the starting roster has an expiring contract. SKT hasn’t announced their ultimate fates just yet, but it’d be quite surprising if they didn’t at least try to sign jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min back to the team. Clid was renowned this year as one of the world’s best junglers.