League of Legends (LoL) mainstay TSM have ended their 12-year saga in the LoL Championship Series (LCS) after they sold their spot in the league to Shopify Rebellion for a reported US$10 million, the North America LCS franchising fee required by Riot Games.
Shopify Rebellion first revealed the acquisition to the public on 21 September (Wednesday), revealing they will also absorb TSM’s former LoL roster and will be joining the LCS for the 2024 season.
— Shopify Rebellion (@ShopifyRebels) September 20, 2023
“Entering League of Legends – one of the largest esports titles, with a rich competitive history –felt like an obvious next step for us, as we continue to grow our presence in Esports,” Dario “TLO” Wünsch, Shopify Rebellion's esports program development lead, said in a statement.
TSM CEO and founder Andy “Reginald” Dinh described the acquisition as a “milestone moment for TSM and the entire esports community.” Reginald added that he feels combining TSM's "relentless pursuit of victory" with Shopify Rebellion's "innovative spirit" will spark new success and enhance the competitive landscape of esports.
“We are excited to welcome Shopify Rebellion to the LCS and the greater Riot esports ecosystem, with their teams now represented in LoL esports and VALORANT,” Carlos Antunes, Head of LoL Esports Americas, added.
Antunes also said that Riot recognises TSM’s contributions to the LCS, and that “their legacy will continue to be felt within our community for many years to come”
Why did TSM the LCS?
Earlier this year, TSM announced their plans to depart the LCS, a plan that was purportedly first brought up in 2022.
TSM are one of the original organisations that were franchised in the league and have earned seven regional championships during their time there.
They also qualified for the LoL World Championship seven times and were present in the first Worlds tournament in 2011, where the team took third place.
However, despite being the winningest team in the region, TSM had not put up strong showings in the past couple of years. TSM’s last Worlds showing was in 2020, where they were eliminated in the Group Stage in 13th-16th place.
According to Reginald’s video message released in May, the organisation had been working on the decision to leave the LCS “for the last three years.”
“TSM has always been about delivering at the highest level, and every time we’ve gone to Worlds, we’ve failed to deliver a trophy, and what that really means is the job is not finished,” said Reginald.
“I believe moving to another region will re-ignite our hunger to doing whatever it takes to win the World Championship."
TSM have been one of the most storied esports organisations in the United States, but they have been bathed in controversy for the last couple of years, mostly because of management. The organisation’s CEO was previously investigated for misconduct and was notorious for bullying employees and players.
Reginald was placed on probation for two years “across the Riot ecosystem" and ordered to "complete sensitivity training and executive training," in addition to the US$75,000 fine levied against TSM.
In 2022, ex-TSM coach Zhang “Peter Zhang” Yi was permabanned from Riot due to misappropriation of funds, including player salaries.
Later, in November of the same year, the collapse of crypto exchange company FTX also impacted the organisation because it was a naming sponsor of TSM for a short time. As a result, TSM suspended their US $210 million partnership with FTX.
Earlier this year, the organisation had also been reportedly downsizing, with Reginald explaining on Reddit that TSM had “over-hired and expanded too quickly”.
Sports Business Journal also first reported that the company was pausing esports efforts and investments.
TSM have yet to reveal which tier 1 LoL league the organisation will join.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.