Three North American League of Legends teams were handed the death penalty by Riot Games Sunday night, and have been given until May 18th to sell their spots in their respective leagues. Two of the teams, Renegades and Team Impulse, were in the North American League Championship Series, the top division in the region and a lucrative place to be.
Consider this: when three-time NBA champion Rick Fox bought Gravity's NA LCS spot last year and formed his team Echo Fox, it reportedly cost him a cool million. There are plenty of other basketball people involved, too: other North American investors have included Shaquille O'Neal and co-owners of the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies.
Prospective owners looking to get into the league now will likely have to dish out even more.
Q4 2015 price of LCS slot was $850k-2m.— Stephen Ellis (@snoopeh) May 9, 2016
The 10 days won't deter people from paying that or more. There is more interest now than ever.
League fans on Reddit are already asking for Dallas Mavericks owner/famous rich person Mark Cuban. He's been a vocal pro-esports voice in the past, calling anti-esports talking head Colin Cowherd an "idiot when it comes to esports," and he's hinted previously at his interest in buying an LCS spot.
Once again in February, he said he was contemplating starting his own team. There's probably no better time than now. With two teams forced to sell, it's probably one of the last times more than one spot will be open at any given time.
Big money continues to flow into the NA LCS, which is currently a 10-team league. As less established brands like Team Impulse leave the space, it's only a matter of time before the league is filled with established brands and established money. These two spaces may be the last available for some time: the other eight teams in the league are either longtime household esports brands (Team SoloMid, Cloud9, Team Liquid, Counter Logic Gaming) or new money with big aspirations (Immortals, NRG Esports, Echo Fox, Apex Gaming).
We'll have to wait and see if Cuban makes his move -- with his other responsibilities, he'd likely need to find and bring in personnel to actually do the running of the team. But we'll almost certainly know who the two new teams will be in the next two weeks.