Applications from Splyce and a joint venture between H2K Gaming and Paris Saint-Germain have been declined for permanent slots in the European League Championship Series as Riot begins to select franchise partners, league sources told ESPN.
The league will welcome a number of new teams and investors into the league, which has conducted its franchise application process since July. Around 24 applicants were invited to Berlin to meet with league owner and game dev Riot Games over the course of July, August and September. The EU LCS is following in the footsteps of its sister league, the North American League Championship Series, which went through a similar process in 2017. Riot Games, Splyce and H2K Gaming did not respond to requests for comment.
Splyce and H2K will exit from League of Legends for the first time since the teams entered in late 2014 and 2015, respectively. Both have remained in the league without being relegated, and for the greater part of their competitive history they have fielded rosters that placed within the playoffs throughout a number of seasons.
Splyce and H2K will both be compensated with an exit payment based off the number of splits they’ve competed in the league. Those numbers will differ depending on the number of new teams welcomed into the league, each of whom will pay an additional 2.5 million euros ($2.9 million) more than their existing peers who will remain in the league. Exit payments in the North American League Championship Series ranged from $1.71 million to $2.86 million.
H2K and Paris Saint-Germain partnered in early September after H2K filed its initial application with the league, sources said. The partnership would have seen H2K work as the main operator for the team, which would have Paris Saint-Germain branding, similar to its partnership with LGD Gaming in Dota 2.
H2K entered League of Legends in 2011 and qualified for the European League Championship Series in late 2014 during the league’s expansion tournament, which added two new teams to the league. In mid-2017, H2K Gaming and its executives spoke out against Riot Games, threatening to leave the league if Riot did not make changes that would allow its teams to make profits. H2K was joined by Unicorns of Love, who also wrote an open letter about flaws within the European League of Legends ecosystem.
In late 2015, Splyce acquired the European slot owned by Team Dignitas, who were required to sell its spot as a result of owning another team in North America. In February 2017, Splyce received investment from Delaware North, a well-known American hospitality company and the parent group of the Boston Bruins and TD Garden. Later that year, Splyce, alongside its peers G2 Esports, Fnatic and Misfits, applied for the North American League Championship Series but were declined from that league as well.