The LCK may be facing enough financial troubles to implement a salary cap, reports say.
Korean gaming publication Inven recently reported that South Korea’s League of Legends competition might require that all 10 teams implement a salary cap. The article reads that the LCK teams are allegedly in agreement after a discussion about wage costs pointed to the salaries “soaring exponentially.”
The LCK is one of the most competitive esports scenes in the world, so it’s no surprise that salaries have continued to increase in order for teams to entice players to leave current organizations for a more promising contract. But it seems that the salaries are now spiraling out of control, leaving many teams operating in the red.
LCK starts to consider salary cap as LoL salaries soar
The idea of a salary cap was previously rejected by the LCK since teams didn’t want top players to leave for other regions or stop playing altogether. T1 was the loudest opposition to a salary cap, even when other teams started to change their mind about implementing one. T1 is home to the best League of Legends player in the world, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, who currently has a salary of over $2.1 million, not counting bonuses.
But the LCK has since changed its attitude about salary caps it seems. Earlier in 2023, Gen.G CEO Arnold Hur said that he was “extremely concerned” about the LCK’s finances. On Reddit, he admitted to “fearing the worst” if nothing was done to help teams grow as sponsors left the scene.
Despite fighting against salary caps at first, T1 has been operating in the red this entire time. In 2022, they operated at a loss of around $12.6 million.
While a salary cap has seemed like the decided-upon solution, there are some concerns about the implementation of the salary cap. This is most likely due to the LPL also rolling out a salary cap that led to some players losing 70% of their previous salaries. Now, fans of the LCK are fearful that the same will happen to the best players in South Korea, leading to a mass exodus or other complications.