The League of Legends World Champions did not stick together during the pre-season shuffle, as their top and jungle players leave to become free agents.
Duke andÂ BengiÂ leaves SKT, whileÂ PeanutÂ comes in to replace Bengi as SK Telecom T1‘s Main Jungler. This leaves Faker, Blank, Bang and Wolf behind to work out withÂ the new line-up with Peanut. Their coach, PoohManDu also left SKT, which leaves L.i.E.S and KkOma in the coaching staff.
Although there are no concrete details as to how much the players were offered to stay, but rumor has it that Faker himself was offered ludicrous sums just for him to stay. Although â€œ[T]he players would not have signed on if they did not have love for the team, regardless of pay,â€ the team’s team manager for sports marketing Oh Kyung-sik said that â€œthe contracts were created around what the players wanted.â€ It would not be surprising if the rumors were true, as SKT will of course have to compete with teams that are much richer, such as the ones in China, who are not afraid of signing star Korean players on to their teams regardless of how much money it would take, like how the team Invictus Gaming signed Marin for $1.7 million.
According to one estimate, which was made by Ilgan Sports‘s Kown Oh-yong, SKT might have offered Faker with at least $2.5 million, an amount that rivals the salaries of traditional sports players around the globe. The estimate takes into account Faker’s salary of $850,000 before this year, which does not yet include incentives and other benefits. Although SKT’s management refused to divulge any specific details, they did say that they â€œcalculated [Faker’s] salary based on the global marketâ€. What that means is still up to interpretation.
Regardless of how much SKT is paying Faker, there’s no doubt that he would be staying with the team for a while longer, with Blank, Bang and Wolf staying in the team with him. There’s still no news on who SKT would pick up for their Top and sub, but there are plenty of players to choose from, including toplaner ikssu (formerly playing for afreeca Freecs).
Meanwhile, their rivals ROX Tigers have now fully disbanded, with Cry finally leaving the team after negotiations fell through. It is now unknown what lies ahead to SKT’s number one contending team, as ROX now has absolutely no one in their roster.ÃŸ