FlyQuest accepted as NA LCS franchise

FlyQuest is the sixth endemic team accepted into North American League of Legends Championship Series franchising, sources told ESPN on Thursday. Provided by Riot Games

FlyQuest will return to the North American League of Legends Championship Series following its application for permanent partnership being accepted, league sources told ESPN.

The team was notified of their acceptance into the league last week, sources said. It joins the likes of Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming, Echo Fox, Team Liquid and Team SoloMid as existing teams to be awarded permanent partnership with the league.

Riot issued a statement following the reports. So far, nine of the 10 teams that will be a part of the NA LCS have been reported.

"Out of respect for teams still in the application process and mutual NDAs, we're not able to comment on any individual applications for the NA LCS," a Riot spokesperson said. "We'll be announcing the full lineup in mid November once the process has concluded and look forward to sharing more details then."

FlyQuest and its owner, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner and Fortress Investment Group founder Wesley Edens (worth $1.2 billion), will be obligated to pay $10 million to retain the spot in the league. Edens initially bought into the league in December for $2.5 million -- $1.8 million for the spot previously owned by Cloud9 Challenger and an additional $700,000 for four player contracts of that team.

The team had hired Edens' son, Ryan Edens, as its general manager in December to oversee the team. During the course of 2017, it has hired several others -- such as former WME|IMG account executive Ryan Dow and former Publicis Media associate director Scott Pogrow -- to manage the business side of the company.

Changes to the league began in June when Riot Games opened applications for parties interested in gaining long-term franchise spots in the league. That process closed in July with more than 100 applicants and then was narrowed down to a shortlist in September. Executives of those Phase Two parties, including Wesley Edens, traveled to the Riot Games headquarters in Los Angeles to review their applications with the game developer.

The league will welcome a total of four new teams into the league. It has reportedly accepted applications from Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob, the Cleveland Cavaliers and OpTic Gaming, who will obtain three of those spots, respectively, at the price of $13 million. The final applicant on the list is currently unknown.

Making room for those new teams means that Immortals, Team Envy, Phoenix1 and Team Dignitas have all been declined, as previously reported by ESPN. Those four will be entitled to a compensation pool of $12 million comprised of $3 million from each of the non-endemic franchisees. That money will be split among the former NA LCS teams and Challenger teams eUnited, Gold Coin United, Big God Jackals and Tempo Storm.