Kotaku Australia has reported that Riot Games Oceania will downsize the Oceanic Pro League (OPL) ahead of its 2020 season.
The majority of this will come from teams losing the operating subsidies provided by Riot. The subsidy was designed to help offset operating costs for things like rent, internet, power and other utilities. The stipend came in the form of weekly payments to teams through the OPL’s two splits.
In an email sent to Kotaku, Riot Games said: "We can confirm we have removed the operating subsidy for the upcoming season in accordance with the plan teams were made aware of when they entered the league."
One caveat for OPL sides is, however, that Riot Games will remove the minimum player salary requirements for the league moving forward: “We can also confirm we have agreed as a concession with team owners to waive OPL’s minimum salary requirement. This decision wasn’t taken lightly – but with a view to sustainability – and was communicated to OPL players on October 23”. The rumored minimum salary for players was $10,000 per year. With this new rule in place, players are no longer guaranteed to see a salary at all.
Ultimately, this minimum salary is good short-term for OPL teams, though likely won’t be good for the scene long-term.
OPL Player Exodus?
This report goes a long way to explaining why we’ve already seen players leaving the OPL to join other regions. It might also be a reason why the LCS has relaxed its import policy for 2020 and beyond.
So far this offseason we’ve seen Mitchell "Destiny" Shaw leave OPL champions Mammoth to join Origen. In the LCS, we saw 100 Thieves acquire Tommy "ry0ma" Le from OPL team Bombers. He left to become the new 100 Thieves starter, though we expect to see more OPL players join the LCS Academy system in the future, especially considering the Kotaku report.