According to sources close to the BLIX'S editorial team, the LCK is set to implement a Salary Cap in the near future. Although the exact timing of the implementation cannot be confirmed, all indications point towards its full enforcement in the LCK as early as 2024. Regardless, a Salary Cap will, without a doubt, be implemented in the LCK.
Similar salary regulations have been previously applied in other leagues, such as the LPL and its previously reported Salary Cap. This model is currently being studied, and many similar measures are expected to be applied in the LCK. In addition to learning from the LPL system, various aspects need to be carefully considered in order to implement a salary cap effectively in the LCK. The process of changing league rule sets and adjusting player salaries will be gradual.
One of the rules currently under consideration is a provision that is similar to the Franchise Tag system in other sports. It would force players to renew their contracts if their team increases their salary by 25%. In such a scenario, players cannot decline their team's proposal and must continue competing with them for an additional year. It should be noted that this rule is only a proposition that was previously discussed and may not be ultimately implemented.
Attempts were made to apply this salary cap in Korea before. In 2021, rumors emerged regarding the implementation of a salary cap in 2022, but the proposal did not move forward. According to a past report by Upcomer, T1 stood as the "strongest opposing voice" to the proposed new rule.
However, as of 2023, the rule has reportedly been approved, and progress is being made.
Something that BLIX.GG's sources can also confirm is that a significant number of high-level Korean players are starting to explore opportunities in the West or seek representation from agents in the West. Players like Park "Teddy" Jin-seong, are among those beginning to adopt this strategy. However, Teddy is just one of many players who are now considering this approach. During this off-season, players, like world champion Jang "Ghost" Yong-jun, explored the Western market in case they received offers there, unfortunately doing so when most transfer moves were already decided.
Economic situation of esports in the West
Despite this interest, the economic situation in the West is not at its best. Cases like the current situation in the LCS highlight this, but we will address them in a future post.
Major leagues like the LEC are receiving some assistance through league cosmetics (icons and emojis), but apart from that, different ways to support teams in these leagues are being explored.
Currently, the most significant case is what is happening with the European Regional Leagues (ERLs). Although nothing has been decided yet, discussions are ongoing to explore the possibility of implementing a rule to set a maximum operational cost for esports organizations in some ERLs. This option is being considered in various leagues, such as the LVP (Spanish league) and the LFL (French league), due to the shared concern about the current state of esports. In addition to imposing a maximum operational cost per club, various options are being studied to hopefully improve the economic situation, including format changes in the ERL.