Riot to Mandate Organizations to Give Players and Coaches Employee Benefits
The ever popular League of Legends developer and tournament organizer, Riot Games, has big plans they want push forward by next year. Riot wants to mandate that “all teams participating in its North American and European League Championship Series competitions contractually employ their players and coaching staff beginning with the 2017 season”, according to a report made by ESPN.
By enforcing this, players and coaching staff on LCS teams become legitimate employees and, therefore, are privy to employee benefits, including, sick days, healthcare, and 401(k) retirement plans. However, this, of course, comes with a dark side. Now organizations, as employers, will need to actually withhold the players’ taxes upfront from their earnings. Something that is completely new to both sides since, for the past few years, many teams have their players as employed as independent contractors. That means that the player was responsible for withholding their own taxes for the end of the year.
This isn’t a new venture altogether since six teams already do employ their players, including Cloud9, H2K Gaming, Immortals, Team Liquid, Team SoloMid, and Unicorns of Love. However, this rule change would be more for the other 14 teams in North America and Europe. Those other teams would need to update their business models and have a complete infrastructure revamp so that they are up-to-date with the change.
Sources say Riot Games is, “currently considering increasing the player minimum salary distributed by Riot Games to teams for individual players.” Currently, because of the Minimum Player Compensation implemented by Riot Games, players make $12,500 in North America and €11,250 in Europe per split. This comes out to a minimum player salary of $25,000 and €22,500 per year respectively. This does not include earnings from tournament winnings, personal streams, and/or paid promotions. However, Riot has reportedly not decided what the new minimum will be, if it truly changes at all.
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