T1 Breaks Ranks in LCK's United Statement Against Riot Games

Vignesh Raghuram
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<div class="paragraphs"><p>T1 CEO&nbsp;Joe Marsh</p></div>
T1 CEO&nbsp;Joe Marsh


T1 separates from other LCK teams by not joining a collective statement criticizing Riot Games and the league's business model, sparking community debates.
The LCK teams' joint statement expresses dissatisfaction with the league's profitability, investment, and operational issues.
T1 opts for private discussions with LCK over public confrontation, highlighting its unique position and influence in the league.

Reigning League of Legends (LoL) World Champions T1 has come under fire after it publicly distanced itself from a collective statement issued by the other nine teams in the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK). This statement, addressing several critical issues faced by the teams, was aimed at the LCK and Riot Games. However, T1's refusal to participate has cast a shadow over this united front, raising questions and stirring debate within the community.

LCK Teams Unite in Landmark Statement Highlighting Financial Struggles and Inadequate Investment

The joint statement is allegedly a culmination of three years of growing concerns and highlights the teams' dissatisfaction with the league's business model and Riot Games' investment in the LCK and LoL Esports. 

According to the translation posted by LCK Subs, the statement painted a grim picture of the league's current state, contrasting sharply with the initial vision of "The World’s Greatest Global Esports League" promised by Riot Games. While acknowledging the LCK's success in terms of viewership and performance, the teams unanimously voiced their concerns over the stagnation in the league's business value and profitability. The statement pointedly noted that despite contributing significantly to the success of League of Legends, the teams have been grappling with diminishing returns and a business model that seems increasingly untenable.

The statement also detailed multiple other grievances faced by LCK teams, ranging from inadequate investment in LCK-specific personnel and infrastructure to a concerning decline in the number of league games relative to “other professional sports”. Furthermore, they highlighted functional in-game issues that are hampering players' training, coupled with a lack of clarity and direction from the league regarding future plans and strategies.

T1 Goes Rogue, Ditches LCK Allies

In a move that diverged sharply from this collective voice, T1's CEO Joe Marsh declared the organization’s intention to address these issues privately with the LCK, as opposed to joining the public outcry. "We told them we wouldn’t comment publicly as to not hurt their cause, but that was before they posted it without changing the language from 10 to 9. T1 talks to LCK in private, not via public letters," said Marsh in a public statement posted on Twitter.

This move by T1 has sparked intense reactions from the League of Legends community. Many fans and analysts are puzzled by T1's decision to stand apart in a matter that seemingly affects all teams in the league. Popular community member, Linda Pro League, also voiced their confusion, questioning T1's public dissociation from the statement.

This stance taken by T1 has sparked an intense debate in the League of Legends community. One way to look at T1's approach is that it is a pragmatic maneuver and more likely to yield results. However, this can also be seen as a missed opportunity for solidarity, potentially weakening the collective bargaining power of the teams. 

T1's decision to forge its own path in addressing the issues with Riot Games and the LCK holds significant weight, given its stature as the most prominent organization in the league. Its extensive fan base, arguably the largest in the LCK, adds to its clout and the impact of its actions.

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Vignesh has been covering the esports industry for nearly 5 years starting with the early days of the DPC. His industry expertise includes experience in Dota 2, CS:GO and Mobile Esports coverage.