Renowned European Football club Schalke 04 confirmed they would have to close down their League of Legend (LoL) esports team and authorise the sale of their European Championship (LEC) 2022 slot. Schalke 04 values their LEC spot at €30 million, which is €10 million more than they were considering offering it for in February.
Schalke 04 joined the LEC in 2019 and performed consistently after finishing fourth in the LEC Summer 2019 tournament and grabbing fourth place again in LEC Spring 2021.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic left football clubs struggling financially, and Schalke 04 were no exception, despite being a Bundesliga giant. The club was relegated to Germany’s second division after 30 years at the top of the country’s football scene.
League of Legends is the fourth most-watched game on Twitch in 2021.
Schalke 04’s departure from the esports scene will mean exiting a market that’s only predicted to grow. League of Legends is a top-rated esport, with 3.82 million hours streamed on Twitch this year, right after Fortnite, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Apex Legends.
League of Legends revenue reached $1.75 billion in 2020.
League of Legends’ popularity is hard to dispute, with the game earning another $1.75 billion for Riot Games in 2020. The game reached 115 million active monthly users in 2021 and had almost 100 million unique viewers for the World Championship finals in 2019. That’s more than the 2018 Super Bowl (98 million).
A new organisation could potentially replace Schalke 04, but with the LEC Summer split starting soon, the question remains whether the deal can be closed before the end of the season. Esports punters are waiting with bated breath to see how prominent betting sites will regard such a newcomer to the competition.