SBD/June 16, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Riot Moves To Unionize "League Of Legends" Championship Series Players

Riot hosted a players summit inviting all starters and active subs to participate
There have been "recent moves toward a players' association" for the North American "League of Legends" Championship Series, and the association "isn't being started by the players" but by game publisher Riot itself, according to Kieran Darcy of ESPN.com. Riot Senior Manager of Esports League Operations Chris Greely said, "We've all seen the benefits that players' associations can bring to professional players in a given league, whether it's Major League Baseball, the NBA or the NFL." He added, "It is important as we begin to move forward in a different alignment with the owners that the players have a voice at that table and are able to have someone in those discussions whose sole responsibility is to answer to the players and look out for their interests." Darcy noted Riot "hosted a players summit at its California campus on June 5, inviting all starters and active subs to participate." As part of that summit, three presentations were "made by candidates to head up the players' association, all put forward by Riot," and former NBPA Assistant General Counsel Hal Biagas "got the job." As part of this initiative, Riot will "provide funding for the NA LCS players' association as well, at least at the start." This has "led some to question its motives." There are "certainly differences between how this organization is being set up and how players' associations in traditional sports have been formed" (ESPN.com, 6/15). ESPN.com's Darcy noted after spending nearly 13 years with the NBPA, Biagas left in '09 to "join the Wasserman Media Group." Three years later he "moved to Excel Sports Management, where he represented" former NBAer and current Bucks coach Jason Kidd, among others. Earlier this year he "left Excel to start his own agency, Sideline Sports Management" (ESPN.com, 6/15). 
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