FC Schalke 04’s future in Europe’s top League of Legends league, the LEC, could be on the line following the football club’s relegation from the German Bundesliga.
Schalke 04’s core business of football has taken a big hit recently, with the club being relegated from the best German division, the Bundesliga. The relegation happened after a horrible season where the Gelsenkirchen-based club has only managed to win two matches out of 30 so far in the season. With only 13 points in the league, FC Schalke 04 is sitting in last place without any chance of climbing higher at this point. This means direct relegation to the 2nd. Bundesliga next season.
The poor performance on the football field might have an impact on FC Schalke 04’s esports operations as well. The club has been participating in the LEC since 2017 and owns a franchise in the league. FC Schalke 04 also has the Academy team Schalke 04 Evolution that plays in the German Prime League. Schalke 04, as well as its Academy team, have had a solid season so far in 2021 and are only looking like an organization on the rise.
With the overall club taking a big hit financially after the poor football season, fans are starting to fear that it will spell bad things for the esports operations. In a recent interview, Schalke’s Chief Gaming Officer Tim Reichert hinted that changes may be coming soon. What these changes might be is still unknown, but some news regarding the situation was originally expected in June. The update given by Reichert came on April 9, which was before Schalke 04 was guaranteed to relegate from the Bundesliga. With the team being out of contention already, the news about the esports department’s future might drop even sooner.
FC Schalke 04 exiting the LEC would be a big blow for European League of Legends. Not only is the club itself a big brand, but the team has also proven itself as a contender in the last three years. During the 2018 EU LCS Summer Split, Schalke made it all the way to the final where they lost to Fnatic. After that, the team’s performance took a dip but has risen in 2021.
In the recent spring split, Schalke 04 finished fourth after being knocked out by Rogue. This placement was probably more than most fans would have expected, showing great promise for Schalke 04 in the summer split.
@AbbedaggeLoL will be leaving us to join @100Thieves for the 2021 LCS Summer Split, with @Nuclear_int joining our #LEC Roster for Summer. We wish Felix all the best and hope to see him at Worlds! Forever a Royal Blue 💙🤍 #S04WIN pic.twitter.com/za8DBERmkd
— Schalke 04 Esports (@S04Esports) April 19, 2021
Unfortunately for the hardcore FC Schalke 04 fans, the club announced earlier this week that mid laner Felix “Abbedagge” Braun would leave the team to join 100 Thieves in the LCS effective immediately. Losing Abbedagge this early in the mid-season break could potentially indicate big changes for the team moving further into the season. For now, Abbedagge will be replaced by the young Ilias “Nuclearint” Bizriken.
If nothing happens with the LEC franchise, Schalke 04 will be back on Summoner’s Rift when the summer split kicks off.