Since its inception in 2013, the LCS has seen plenty of organizations come and go, but how does the growth of League of Legends esports compare to traditional sports leagues?
theScore esports have taken a look at all the orgs that have left North American and European League of Legends over the past four years and compared them to franchises that went defunct in the first four years of the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB.
For the purposes of the infographic, we’re counting any LoL teams that left the scene, merged or transferred ownership to be considered “defunct.” If a team was relegated to Challenger but continues to compete, then they weren’t counted.
According to our data, the progression of the EU LCS and NA LCS in terms of drop out had proceeded along very similar lines to the NFL and NBA, but the NHL and MLB had far lower numbers.
Despite the similar drop-off, the LCS started with eight teams and expanded to 10 teams in 2014, while the NFL started with 18 teams and the NBA with 11, so the sports leagues did have larger pools of teams to begin with. When it comes to the leagues with less drop off, the NHL had a meager four teams, while the MLB had 16.
One important thing to note in contrast between LCS and traditional sports leagues is that while the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB had to compete with other leagues for dominance, the LCS has proceeded along with almost no competition thanks to Riot Games strict use of their copyright to prevent other professional LoL circuits from popping up without their permission.
The MLB in particular is an interesting case because the National League and the American League, once competing organizations in the early 1900s, were technically separate entities until 2000 when they merged. The only relocation in the MLB between 1902 and 1953 was the Baltimore Orioles’ move to New York where they became the Highlanders and later the Yankees.
Of course, the biggest difference between the LCS and traditional North American sports leagues is the presence of relegation, which has often resulted in organizations selling their slot and leaving the scene after being bumped down to Challenger.
Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.
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