The 2014 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) was recently sent out to players and has since leaked to the Internet. While much of it seems to be the usual standard mind-numbing legal drivel, OnGamers, who received the leaked contract from an unnamed source, noted an extra addition this time around that seems to prohibit LCS players from streaming or advertising certain games, a bit of an odd list given that several of the games listed don't even compete with the League of Legends brand. And not only are they barred from streaming during specific times, but theyre prohibited from streaming the list of games outright.
Some of the oddities on this list include Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes, which shut down back in March, virtually all of Blizzards main lineup in the Diablo, StarCraft, and Warcraft series as well as Hearthstone, but with the odd exception of the upcoming Heroes of the Storm (figure that one out), Awesomenauts, and Fat Princess. Other games on the list that seem a bit more relevant include DotA 2, Turbines Infinite Crisis, Hi-Rez Studios SMITE, Heroes of Newerth, and others.
Smashing any speculation that the contract information may have been inaccurate, Riot Games Director of eSports Whalen RiotMagus Rozelle confirmed the contents of the leaked contract on Reddit.
We say this all the time: we want League of Legends to be a legitimate sport. There are some cool things that come from that (salaried professional athletes, legitimate revenue streams, visas, Staples Center), but theres also a lot of structural work that needs to be done to ensure a true professional setting.
We recognize there may be some differences of opinion in the perception of pro players streams. In the past, pro gamers only had to worry about their personal brands when streaming and, at most, may have had to worry about not using the wrong brand of keyboard to keep their sponsor happy. Now, however, these guys are professionals contracted to a professional sports league. When theyre streaming to 50,000 fans, theyre also representing the sport itself.
I cant stress enough how these guys in the LCS are on the road to being real, legitimate athletes. This is new territory for a lot of teams (especially in esports), because the transition goes from being a group of talented individuals to being real icons of a sport and a league. Similarly, you probably wouldnt see an NFL player promoting Arena Football or a Nike-sponsored player wearing Reebok on camera. Pro players are free to play whatever games they want were simply asking them to keep in mind that, on-stream, theyre the face of competitive League of Legends.
In addition to the games, contracted players are also prohibited some of the usual stuff such as not streaming websites with sexually explicit material, gambling websites, displaying guns and ammunition, non-over-the-counter drugs, and tobacco products. Alcohol doesn't seem to be on the list at the moment.
You can see the contract segment for yourself over at OnGamers.