Changes Coming to LoL Esports in 2017

The League of Legends scene is one of the largest and most vocal worldwide fan communities in esports, but today, the folks at Riot Games say they want to see even more growth and financial stability within their esport.  In the coming months, the company will be rolling out a slew of new initiatives to encourage increased fan support for newer League of Legends leagues, infrastructure changes to keep organizations and players in the leagues, and more ways for outside business partners to invest in League of Legends esports.

“As we move into 2017 and beyond, we’re continuing to take steps towards a future where top LoL players have very well paid, long careers doing what they love – and where LoL esports team organizations are thriving businesses led by empowered owners who share responsibility and accountability for the long term prosperity of the sport.” -Riot Games

Riot says they plan to first tackle the issue of providing support for their 13 leagues by improving the ways that participants can earn revenue in three areas: media and sponsorships, merchandising opportunities, and the sale of in-game content.

2016 Worlds will feature some new changes with the way the payouts from the sale of in-game content are handled

  • Championship Skin & Ward –  25% of revenue from each year’s Championship skin and Championship Ward is going to the Worlds prize pool.  That means fans and players can impact the prize pool for the upcoming Worlds 2016 tournament right now.  Riot says that if they had done similar revenue sharing in 2015, the sales from the skin alone would have doubled the $2,130,000 prize pool that year.
  • Challenger Skin – 25% of revenue from each year’s Challenger skin will be added to the MSI prize pool.
  • Team Championship Skins – 25% of the revenue earned on skin sales in the launch year of each set of Team Championship skins directly with the players on that team, as well as the organization and the league itself.  Past team championship skins will fall under this revenue-sharing model as well.  Riot has not released how the breakdown of the revenue sharing will go between the various parties involved.
  • New Digital Offerings – In 2017, Riot will introduce team branded in-game items, esports promotional iteams, and better revenue sharing for summoner icons- again in an effort to raise the number of ways teams and players can benefit financially from staying with League of Legends. In 2017 each of the 13 leagues will give a guaranteed minimum payout to each of the teams playing, based on what they believe the teams and the players need.  These payouts may be very different from region to region, as it sounds like Riot is leaving the pay breakdown to the regional officials themselves.

Riot believes the above revenue sharing model will generate millions of dollars for teams, so they can continue to operate in the LoL scene, and players can earn reasonable salaries for their efforts.

The financial problems in esports are well documented, with players not being paid, or players signing dodgy contracts.  Riot appears to believe their new revenue generation will help teams make more money so they can pay their players consistently, and they will also receive money from sponsorships and partnerships in the future.

What do you think of the revenue sharing?  Do you think this will help bring some stability for players?


Take a look at the teams that will be competing in the 2016 Worlds tournament and the group stage of the event.