Mobile Legends league in Indonesia pioneers franchise model in SEA

A professional esport league for Mobile Legends: Bang Bang in Indonesia has adopted a franchise model, charging a one-time fee of $1m (€898,000) for a permanent spot in the league.

Eight teams have signed up, with this becoming the first esports league in Southeast Asia to adopt this model.

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) is a multi-player online battle arena mobile game developed by Shanghai Moonton Technology, and is set to become a medal event at the 2019 Southeast Asia Games.

The league’s marketing director Dylan Chia said in a Yahoo Finance report: “This allows us to tackle many issues faced in previous seasons. For instance, the lack of regulation and governance prevented standardised contracts between teams and players. By having permanent teams, it allows the league to implement a system that protects all parties involved, making it easier for us to create something with a solid foundation with a long-term goal of sustainability in the esports landscape of Indonesia.”

The esports league is in its fourth season, and with this change to a franchise model, the following would be established:

  1. Hard salary caps for each team to promote team parity and operational cost sustainability
  2. Shared revenue where each team can get more than 50 per cent of the league revenue pool before deduction of Moonton’s operational and marketing costs
  3. Player contracts with a fixed minimum salary and minimum contract length of six months per season
  4. No relegation for teams

The season will last for eight weeks starting on August 23-October 13, 2019, and the grand final from October 26-27, 2019. It will feature the previous season’s champion Onic Esports, and seven other permanent franchises: Alter Ego, Aura, Bigetron Esports, Evos, Geek Fam, Genflix Aerowolf and Rex Regum Qeon.

Moonton has committed $8m to further develop the MLBB esports community in Indonesia, and host local tournaments to provide more grassroots platforms for gamers to go professional, or take up backroom roles in tournament and event organisation.