This past month, the LCS downsized, with both Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians exiting the top North American LoL league. But before Riot even proposed buyouts to the teams in the league, other organizations outside the LCS had been actively discussing potential buy-ins.
Per a report from esports reporter Jacob Wolf detailing the departures of both EG and GG from the LCS, organizations GameSquare Esports (owners of FaZe and Complexity), Enthusiast Gaming (owners of Luminosity Gaming and CDL franchise Seattle Surge), and DarkZero Esports had all expressed interest in buying their way into the LCS. According to Wolf, these organizations held discussions with both the LCS teams that ended up staying and the ones that left.
These interested organizations reportedly discussed buying either an LCS slot or an LCS team’s entire organization, which have both already happened this year within the league. NRG entered the LCS earlier this year by acquiring the entire CLG organization from the Madison Square Garden Corporation. Later on, Shopify Rebellion purchased an LCS slot specifically from the departing TSM for a reported $10 million.
According to Wolf, though, these discussions between interested organizations and then-current LCS teams “centered on stock compensation,” which would have resulted in the owners of the team that was selling becoming shareholders in the team that was acquiring. Because that would make these new shareholders subject to future market corrections, the cash buyout offer from Riot ended up more appealing.
This offer was so appealing that over half the LCS teams at the time took calls from Riot about a potential buyout: 100 Thieves, NRG, Dignitas, Immortals, Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses all reportedly took the call. According to Wolf, this offer included $6 million in cash, waiving any remaining debt, and an outstanding payment for the organization’s share of the league revenue pool.
Both Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses, who were looking to leave, took the buyouts.