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Super Evil Megacorp to debut Vainglory franchise program in 2017

Partner teams will share in multiple revenue streams and guide the future of the game as an eSport

Super Evil Megacorp has followed up its stated commitment to a sustainable future for eSports with action, launching a new franchise program that will share revenue with Vainglory's pro teams and players.

Vainglory has attracted support from many leading professional eSports teams over the last year, including Team SoloMid, C9, Team Secret, SK Gaming and Mousesport. The new program will not only award those teams a larger share of revenue, it will also give them more control over the evolution of Vainglory as an eSport.

According to Super Evil COO Kristian Segerstrale, at the start of 2015 Vainglory's live events were effectively run by a team of community and player volunteers. "Now we are taking a major step with the Vainglory Team Franchise Program to deepen our relationships with the pro teams that are committed to helping Vainglory esports grow," he said in a statement, pledging to invest "significant resources" in creating a profitable ecosystem for everyone.

"We are taking a major step to deepen our relationships with the pro teams that are committed to helping Vainglory eSports grow"

This echoes statements Segerstrale made to in an interview published at the start of this week. "[Teams] are businesses like anything else," he said, "so they need to be able to form fanbases, and sustain themselves through merchandise sales, advertising, sponsorship, and all those things."

Vainglory's franchise holders will get a cut of the revenue from broadcast rights, tickets and sponsorships, as well as partnering on digital and physical merchandise sales. The program will start with eight teams, but that will be refreshed annually, with no team "guaranteed a spot in the top competition." Vainglory's partner teams will participate in an advisory council, which will help to govern all aspects of the its future, from changes to the game's competitive balance to more pragmatic concerns like scheduling, bans and league format.

Those teams will also have the option to be tied to a "home city," allowing them to nurture and participate in the Vainglory communities in their local areas. This emphasis on regionality was a key feature of Activision Blizzard's plans for its Overwatch eSports league, announced in November, which also stressed financial stability for its teams.

"Super Evil Megacorp has done a remarkable job at taking a virtually home-grown competitive community and elevating it to a professional esports structure in just a year, complete with team voices, sensible financial models and a fresh way to approach local communities," said Andy Dinh, founder of Team SoloMid.

The endorsement of Dinh is particularly interesting, as he was involved in a public dispute with Riot Games earlier this year over the way it has handled the growth of League of Legends. Dinh claimed that Riot had lost touch with the needs of pro players, patching the game in ways that damaged the competitive scene and implementing rules that made it increasingly difficult for teams to make money. After an initial rebuke from co-founder Marc Merrill, Riot has since acknowledged many of Dinh's concerns and committed to a revenue sharing initiative.

The Vainglory franchise program will take effect in the spring season of 2017, but teams have until January 15 to apply. To read our interview with Kristian Segerstrale, follow the link.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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