The teams that will take part next year in the newest franchised model of the League Champions Korea have been decided.
According to a report made by OSEN, the LCK have settled on the 10 teams that will participate in the forthcoming 2021 Spring Split. It will mark the start of a new “long-term partnership” era within the league.
Nine current squads of the LCK split will return for 2021, they are DAMWON Gaming, DRX, Gen.G, T1, Hanwha Life Esports, KT Rolster, Afreeca Freecs, Sandbox Gaming, and Team Dynamics. Of those in the Challengers Korea (CK), only hyFresh Blade was promoted.
SeolHaeOne Prince, the lone team presently in the LCK, was excluded from the selection.
In addition to SeolHaeOne Prince, hyFresh also beat out Element Mystic, Jin Air Greenwings, Awesome Spear, and OZ Gaming to be selected for the LCK.
Previously known as Kongdoo Monster and Brion Blade, hyFresh Blade finished their only CK split under the current name in sixth place. The team’s highest point in their four-year history came in their promotion to the LCK for the 2018 spring split. They are also known for starting the careers of notable players and coaches such as Kim “Roach” Kang-hui, Kim “GuGer” Do-yeop and Lee “Zefa” Jae-min.
An official announcement of the final selection is expected to come in early November after the 2020 World Championship.
The news comes as a culmination of a four-phase application process that began in early April.
In the first phase, 21 teams submitted an application to the LCK for a spot in the league. Their applications included elaborate portfolios such as business plans, team management plans, financial plans, and other required documentation.
The second phase featured a subsequent evaluation of all the applicants’ submission packages. After substantial deliberation, which included the insight of sports business experts, accounting firms, and a panel of internal judges, 15 teams advanced to the third phase, where they then negotiated further terms with the league.
Of those 15, 10 were classified first and foremost as “preferred organizations,” whereas the remainder was placed on the “waitlist.” This designation provided a clear-cut hint as to which teams would receive the green light to enter the LCK and which teams would not. In the end, all teams in the principal classification were indeed selected for the LCK.
“In the Long-term partnership model, the league and teams become partners to form a shared entity that makes the decisions about the league together and shares its revenue. Teams that join the league do not get relegated and remain as a participant of LCK.”