League of Legends

Schalke 04’s €26.5 Million Sale Reveals True Value of LEC Spots

After weeks of negotiations, the sale of FC Schalke 04’s LEC spot has been finalised. In a statement released on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 29, FC Schalke 04 Esports announced the completion of it’s sale of the LEC team to Team BDS across social media.

As per the announcement, from 2022, Team BDS will take over the LEC spot. With the sale, the team takes on the current contracts of the staff and players of the team—although many have already announced their departure. 

The agreed upon amount for the spot? A whopping €26.5 million ($31.5 million USD). The amount more than doubles the price first paid by teams when franchising was introduced in 2018. At that time, spots were slated to costbetween €8 million ($9.93 million USD) and €10.5 million ($13.02 million). This means at least a €16.5 return on investment for Schalke.

Schalke’s Record Sale Amount

If the amount seems high, that’s because it’s an enormous amount of money, and the largest paid for a franchise spot in any esports league. Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League and Call of Duty League Franchise spots were initially offered for $20 million and $25 million respectively. The sale to many acts as a proof of concept that these franchise spots are worth their initial investment.

Beyond just a spot in the LEC, Team BDS has bought a portion of Schalke’s fanbase. What’s more, the LEC, a drastically improved product since 2018, has garnered huge amounts of good will. A premier esports league globally, the LEC is one of the top regions in the world for League of Legends. 

The news will be music to the ears of fans of FC Schalke 04’s football team. Their recent financial woes have been well documented. Likewise, LEC owners will be rubbing their hands in glee knowing a mid-table team such as Schalke could sell for such a vast amount. The valuations of companies such as G2, Fnatic, and others are sure to rise.

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League of Legends

Schalke 04 Puts LEC Spot Up For Sale Following Financial Woes

For months, Fußballclub Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, commonly known FC Schalke 04, has reported financial difficulty. Now, following an announcement by club officials, the team will put up for sale their LEC team of the same name.

The Bundesliga team has been a part of the European League of Legends scene since 2016, after it purchased the spot and roster of team Elements. Dubbing their new squad FC Schalke 04 Esports, the team has played in the EU LCS for five seasons. While only seeing limited success, and struggling to find a solid roster, the team has still gathered a loyal fanbase.

The team perhaps peaked in 2018, when the squad secured second place in the EU LCS Summer Playoffs. The squad would also take second place at the EU Regional Finals that same year, but fell short of a ticket to Worlds. As the EU LCS rebranded to the LEC, Schalke 04 failed to replicate the success that had brought them so close to international competition. Instead they have remained a middle-of-the-pack team looking for renewed success.

Rumours first emerged that the LEC spot might be sold in February, and the team put out a statement. Today, Schalke 04 announced the sale of it’s spot. The sale was first hinted earlier in the day in a report by sports journalist Dirk Schlarmann, translated by esports journalist Tom Matthiesen.

Later in the day, additional sources started to confirm the reports. Many now speculated at the value of the LEC spot. In November 2020, Immortals sold their Call of Duty League spot for an undisclosed alleged seven-figure amount. The CDL averages around 40,000 viewers a stream. The much more popular LEC regularly peaks at over 200,000 and looks set to grow. As a result, the potential sale value is very high.

What this means for the members of Schalke 04’s League of Legend’s roster is uncertain. Ultimately the player’s fates will be in the hands of whoever owns the spot after purchase.

And while Riot Games is able to block the sale in principle, it seems unlikely they’d prevent a sale which could potentially show off the value of its league’s spots. 

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League of Legends

LEC reveals record viewership ahead of Worlds 2020

Worlds 2020 is less than a month away, and for one region in particular there’s already plenty to celebrate. Namely Europe, where the League of Legends European Championship has had one of it’s best ever seasons for viewership.

In a detailed post on reviewing the 2020 LEC Summer viewership, the Rioter Alberto “Tiroless” Guerrero revealed the record-setting figures. Overall the LEC’s peak concurrent viewers hit close to one million, reaching a height of 952,339, an increase of 16.7 percent. However, this wasn’t some kind of outlier with the average viewership not far off that mark at 819,415.

That number, which would put it ahead of many TV shows on traditional media for live viewing figures, represents a 70% increase since last year for the Summer Split. The report also states that this was the highest viewed season ever in Europe.

The news comes as the LEC has received universal praise for it’s revitalised broadcast. The European League of Legends scene was revitalised in 2019 with the rebrand from EU LCS to LEC. Since then the broadcast team has striven to create a unique identity, and the record viewership seems to imply that they’ve been successful in engaging with the audience.

The New Kings

This is a far cry from the dismal years past in which Europe, despite often better individual talent, struggled against the individual personalities and brand recognition in the LCS. Since then, problems with production, and a failure to adapt quickly during the coronavirus pandemic, has seen the LCS loose pace with the LEC.

During both League’s respective finals, the LEC hit its peak viewership. Meanwhile, the LCS struggled to beat over half of that, peaking at 545,571, but floundering to a 205,750 on average. This would in part have been down to the five-match war between Team SoloMid and FlyQuest dragging on for so long, while the quick pace of the LEC finals would have kept viewers excited. 

Regardless, it’s a dramatic shift in fortunes for both leagues, and a wake-up call for the LCS, who must now attempt to regain their dominance of the platform in the wake of the LEC’s record viewership.

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