Ahead of the 2021 League of Legends esports free agency period, Riot Games has updated its policies around pro player contracts to increase the standard maximum contract length to four years for certain, eligible pros, a source told Upcomer on Monday.
Previously, the standard maximum contract length for professional League of Legends was three seasons. Riot will now denote these four-year contracts as “Long Term Contracts.”
These contract rules are global and apply across all regions, not just the League Championship Series. To be eligible for a Long Term Contract, a pro must have “played the previous two full seasons in that region.” Riot defines ‘playing in a season’ as being on the active roster for at least 50% of the team’s regular-season games.
Additionally, “one of those seasons must have been in a professional league,” which is defined as any league that has at least one team representing them at Worlds. For example, if a player played one year in Academy and another year in LCS, they would be eligible — but if they played two years in Academy, they would not be.
The player must also have been eligible for play the entirety of the past two seasons, meaning they can’t have been suspended, must be old enough from the starting date of the first season in question, must be eligible to work in that country, etc.
This is a global rule, but each individual league has their own operating guidelines, and therefore this change can pan out differently based on region. For example, in North America, a team’s Academy players are technically listed on the active roster for their LCS team, as well. However, since players in NA must compete in half of their LCS team’s games for at least one season, they can’t play both seasons on Academy and sign a Long Term Contract.
This rule will go into effect for this off-season’s Global Free Agency period, which opens on Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. ET. Players may not sign a Long Term Contract until that time or later.