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Volume 26 No. 227
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Rising LCS Franchise Valuations May Be Able To Lure More Investors

Amid "skyrocketing" franchise valuations for Riot Games' League of Legends Championship Series, major esports organizations are trying to "turn those projections into actual profits," according to Miles Yim of the WASHINGTON POST. Roundhill Investments co-Founder & CEO Will Hershey, whose company is active in the esports space, "believes team owners make a calculus that starts with the League of Legends' worldwide popularity." Differing metrics "make it tricky" to definitively say North America's LCS is "growing, but for Hershey, there's enough positivity to buy in." Hershey: "If you're going to bet on a single game, [LCS] is probably the one that makes the most sense right now. It's a game that has longevity." Konvoy Ventures co-Founder & Managing Partner Josh Chapman, whose firm specializes in gaming, said that an important factor for future profits is "selling media rights." Chapman: "This league will generate a lot of money. Whether it's profitable is entirely contingent on each team's individual investment as well as how much of that media rights revenue is shared with the slot." Hershey also "believes in media rights as the eventual answer for LCS slot profitability, beyond sponsorship deals or merchandise sales." He said that most '18 revenue share payouts were "slightly less" than $1M per team. He "expects those payments to range" between $1-2M in '19. Meanwhile, Chapman "hopes all of the LCS franchise owners understand the long-term nature of their investment in the league," as it will "take years to reach any sort of sustained profitability" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/19).

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