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Professional esports team H2K has reached an agreement with French soccer powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain to bid together for a spot in the European League of Legends Championship Series. There is a $12.7 million entry fee for new teams wishing to join the league, which was originally founded in 2013.

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PSG was a member of the EU LCS in 2017, but left last fall. In a post on the PSG eSports website, the team raised concerns about the LCS economic model. “The revenue sharing model offered by Riot Games is very far from compensating the costs of a structure with European ambitions, partly because of the strong inflation of pro-gamers salaries, in our mind unjustified regarding the audience numbers evolution of the last months.”

In March, the league announced it will be moving to a franchise model for the 2019 season, which will trigger changes to revenue sharing and increase minimum player salaries and benefits. Those changes are likely behind Paris Saint-Germain’s bid to rejoin.The franchise model is the same structure used by the North American League of Legends Championship Series. PSG’s deal will make H2K the operating partner of a new team that’s expected to be co-branded, similar to the French club’s deal with Chinese esports team LSD Gaming in the Dota 2 league.

ESPN reports that the EU LCS has received as many as 24 franchise applications thus far. The league is expected to select new teams in October.

SportTechie Takeaway

Teams are expected to claim 32.5 percent of revenue sharing as part of the European series’ new structure, with 35 percent going to players. Most of the revenue figures will stem from the $300 million broadcasting deal that Riot Games,  the developer of League of Legends, signed with BAMTech in December to stream League of Legends competitions across the ESPN+ streaming platform.

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