LCSPA Launches Commercial Group Rights Program Along With OneTeam Partners
The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Player Association (LCSPA), has announced a multi-year partnership with OneTeam. Together they will work to commercialize and manage the Group Rights for all 100 players in the LCS and the Academy with the goal of becoming a sustainable and independent player organization.
Established in 2017 by LCS players themselves, the LCSPA works to provide the players with counsel, programs, information, and support. Now, this partnership shall give the North American (NA) pros more control over their future in esports.
“This program and partnership will establish a passive revenue stream for players as well as provide a sustainable and independent operating budget for the Players Association (PA) to continue to grow the scope of its work on behalf of players,” read a by the LCSPA.
The LCSPA said that it felt it was the right time to act on behalf of its members to protect its group rights in the same manner that all other major NA athletes in traditional sports are protected. On Twitter, it wrote, “The LCSPA is going to begin organizing the Group Rights of LCS and Academy players just as it is done in every major US sport, from NBA to NFL to MLB.”
The LCSPA said this Group Rights program and partnership would mean LCS and Academy players on trading cards, collectibles, and beyond.
A Historic partnership for the LCSPA
According to the LCSPA, this partnership has been a long time in the making as Marty Strenczewilk of OneTeam Partners (formerly Co-Founder and CEO of Splyce) first spoke to Players Association President Darshan Upadhyaya in December 2020. Upon striking the right cord through continued conversations about Group Rights and proving that the LCSPA could provide value for its members, it decided to advocate for Group Rights as the next step to player empowerment in esports.
What are Group Rights and NIL?
A Group Rights deal is where a group of people agrees that any commercial agreement involving a portion or all of the league’s players must be negotiated collectively through their chosen partner. These deals almost entirely use passive Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights to ensure players get appropriate compensation when a trading card, sports video game, or fantasy sport is put together using their personal information or likeness."LCSPA
The blogpost said that Group Rights are a well-established practice in traditional sports and were first successfully used in Major League Baseball (MLB) to establish the first independent and successful sports union in America. Most Player Associations now use Group Rights to fund their existence and create a path for supplemental revenue for the members.
The blogpost further explained how the members of the Players Associations negotiate a deal with game publishers to secure their rights for their NIL. It said that the same is done for many other things including trading cards and fantasy sports. “From Tom Brady to LeBron James to Mookie Betts, every player in every major traditional sports league in North America has signed a group licensing agreement. These deals provide passive income streams for all players, not just the most popular few.”
Now, with the players of the LCS and Academy being a part of this Group Rights program, players will have a say in the revenue generated through contracts and commercial endorsements. Every player would get paid exactly the same amount regardless of their fame or position in the league. The LCSPA team also announced that it would be doing an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) on the r/LCS subreddit on 14th March at 9 AM Pacific.
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