Franchising & Pirates: For The Average NA LCS Viewer

The fantasy of a lucrative relationship between esports and physical sports is becoming a reality. Riot Games, aware of their surging viewership numbers, announced that there would be allowing team buy-ins for the 2018 season of the North American Championship Series (NALCS).

With a forecast of $1.5 billion in annual revenue by 2020, professional League of Legends has caught the attention of investors in main stream sports. These big-time entrepreneurs have begun striking deals with popular esports organizations, most notably a franchise between The New York Yankees and Vision Venture Partners (parent company to the NALCS’ very own Team Echo Fox).

Echo Fox Owner Rick Fox Posted This Image to His Twitter on October 19,2017

But what is franchising? To explain it simply…

Imagine you’re the captain of a small-time pirate ship. During your adventures you find an opportunity that can earn you a grand bounty, however, you lack the resources needed to retrieve the reward that you seek. You realize that the only one with enough power and influence to retrieve this treasure is the Pirate King, so you seek their help.

After some negotiation, you and the King of Pirates come to an agreement: for a cut of the earnings, your ship can carry out all business at sea using resources provided by the Pirate King, as long as you hoist the Pirate King’s flag for all to see.

The Big-Time Pirates is providing you, a small-time pirate ship, with the brand and resources needed to complete your goal.

When you set sail for the new world, people will recognize that flag and understand the extent of your influence — the power of common knowledge will be understood.


Franchising is a union that can set both parties up for success. The Yankees have invested money and resources into Echo Fox’s parent company, Vision Venture Partners, in exchange for their resources in esports. However, Echo Fox is not the only franchise in the 2018 NA LCS season. As of October 20, 2017, all available NA LCS slots have been purchased with a number of famous franchises as new owners.

The current 2018 NA LCS line-up is as follows:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Cloud9
  • Counter Logic Gaming
  • Echo Fox
  • FlyQuest
  • Houston Rockets
  • OpTic Gaming
  • Team Liquid
  • Team Solo Mid
  • Golden State Warriors (specifically the LCS spot was secured by Joe Lacob)

As time goes on, we will get to see just how big League of Legends esports can become through the united power of franchising.


  • The esports industry is forecasted to reach $1.5 billion in annual revenue by 2020.
  • Franchising; Big Sports Company allows smaller company to use its brand for a new venture (imagine a big pirate ship letting a smaller pirate ship hoist its flag).
  • Major main stream sports organizations have struck franchising deals with current esports organizations.
  • Echo Fox and New York Yankees will work together and share resources in order to profit.

Follow the author on Twitter: @jess_m_morrison

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