Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok has been resigned by Korean team T1 in an unprecedented deal which has granted the star player part-ownership of the organization. The news broke late yesterday evening in an exclusive revealed by ESPN.
The re-signing also extends Faker’s contract to its three year maximum, a limit put in place by Riot Games. What’s more, as part of the new deal, it’s reported that Faker is also set to become a part of T1 Entertainment’s leadership team after his playing career is finished. The move has all but silenced any signs that T1 would be willing to trade the legendary mid laner to other teams and orgs.
Faker is a three time world champion in League of Legends, and widely regarded as the best player to ever play the game. A famous figure both domestically in Korea and internationally, Faker has won almost every accolade imaginable to a League of Legends pro player.
T1 is the parent company of the team originally known as SK Telecom T1. In 2019 the organisation announced a deal with American company Comcast to become T1 Entertainment & Sports. It’s this company which Faker has become part-owner of.
Part-ownership deals are a relatively new part of League of Legends. While player-owners have been the foundation of many esports teams the world over, only recently have players originally signed just for their in-game talents gain stakes in companies as a whole.
In October, it was announced that Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg had acquired a stake in TSM, becoming a partial owner. It was also revealed that several members of C9, including Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi had acquired ownership stakes in the team during the 2019 season.
Faker’s new deal overshadows all of these previous deals with its magnitude. The Unkillable Demon King is set to become a major executive in one of the largest esports companies on the planet, guiding the future of T1 as an organisation.
For fans of T1, it will be a huge comfort that Faker will not only remain with the team for the foreseeable future, but also be a guiding force for the team for years to come.