Team BDS Acquire Schalke 04's LEC Slot

Team BDS Acquire Schalke 04’s LEC Slot

French esports organization Team BDS acquired Schalke 04's League of Legends European Championship (LEC) slot.

French esports organization Team BDS acquired Schalke 04’s League of Legends European Championship (LEC) slot, as announced on Tuesday, June 29. It marks the second-largest franchise deal in the history of the Western esports scene.

Schalke 04 Esports Leaving the LEC

The six-month-long negotiations ended on Tuesday when Schalke 04 unveiled that they’re selling their LEC spot to Team BDS. As revealed by the organizations, the deal cost Team BDS €26.5 million (≈ $31.5 million), the second-largest franchise deal in Western history.

Schalke 04 announced their plans of selling their LoL LEC spot earlier this year, following the financial struggles of the German football club. Schalke 04’s football club got eliminated from Bundesliga in April, which was a massive blow to the club’s finances that eventually led S04 to look for a buyer for their LEC slot.

This, however, was not Schalke 04’s first attempt to escape their financial struggles. Ahead of the LEC 2021 Summer, the German team sold their star mid-laner Felix “Abbedagge” Braun to 100 Thieves.

Abbedagge joined the LoL Champions Series (LCS) for $1 million, which proved insufficient to keep Schalke 04 afloat. The club also explored potential strategic partnerships but ultimately couldn’t find a solution and decided to pull the plug on their LoL project.

By selling their franchise spot, Schalke 04 will no longer be a part of the LEC, starting with the 2022 season. The team is currently still competing in the LEC 2021 Summer and will end the season under their current banner.

Schalke sale marks the second-largest Western League franchise sale in esports history. It is behind only Evil Geniuses’ acquisition of Echo Fox’s LCS spot in 2019, which cost $33 million.

Schalke 04’s Struggles in the LEC

Schalke 04 joined the LEC in 2016 (then EU LCS) but soon faced relegation into the EU Challenger Series. S04 got back up in the upper-division for the EU LCS 2018 Spring season and have remained in the European’s top flight ever since.

Schalke 04 never won a title throughout the years, although they did come close in the EU LCS 2018 Summer season. Schalke 04 finished the regular season in third and reached the grand finals, where they lost to Fnatic with 1-3.

Since the EU LCS rebranded to LEC, Schalke 04’s best placement happened in the LEC 2019 Summer when they finished third in the Summer Playoffs. In the years that followed, success was hard to come by.

In the LEC 2020 Spring, Schalke failed to reach the playoffs, finishing the regular season in eighth with a 6-12 record. Things improved for the summer split when Schalke 04 finished sixth yet struggled to make it past the second round of the playoffs.

In 2021, Schalke 04 improved upon their showings from previous years and claimed a fourth-place finish in the LEC 2021 Spring. They went on to eliminate Fnatic from the playoffs and ended the season in fourth.

After three weeks of play in the LEC 2021 Summer, Schalke 04 managed a 2-5 record. That sits them tied-seventh with Excel Esports and Astralis.

With a 29%-win rate on the split, it’s fair to say that Schalke 04 haven’t had the best start of the summer season. Still, there’s plenty of time for the team to bounce back and compete for one final LEC playoffs run.

Tough Schedule Ahead for Schalke 04

Schalke 04 will return to action on Friday, July 2, when they face off against Fnatic. The teams will clash at 22:00 CEST in the final match of the day.

Odds for Fnatic vs. Schalke 04 Match

Odds courtesy of BetOnline Sportsbook:

  • Fnatic -294
  • Schalke 04 +210
  • Fnatic -5.5 Kills -139
  • Schalke 04 +5.5 Kills +102
  • Over 26.5 Kills -130
  • Under 26.5 Kills -104

Schalke and Fnatic last met in the LEC 2021 Spring Playoffs in April, when Schalke 04 beat Fnatic 3-0. Despite their success last time out, Schalke 04 are viewed as underdogs, with the esports bookmakers pricing them at around -300.

That isn’t too surprising considering their struggles this season. On the other side, Fnatic enter this match in hot form, having won all but two of their LEC 2021 Summer bouts.