Indonesian Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League (MPL) fans must be familiar with the term “franchise league”. It’s commonly discussed among fans on why the MPL is a franchise league, why other teams can’t enter MPL easily, why it is so expensive, and so on.
What is a franchise league?
Franchise leagues in esports have been around for a long time. In 2016, the Overwatch League by Activision Blizzard announced that their league was going to use a franchise league system. Basically, what these leagues offer is job-security for the players. Teams that agree to join the franchise league must have a minimum salary for players set by the committee, inclusive of health insurance and a gaming house for the players. This all sounds great, doesn’t it?
In Indonesia, the first franchise league was introduced by Moonton through MPL Season 4. Back then, teams had to pay US$1 million to enter the MPL. In the end, there were 8 teams that paid their ‘entrance fee’ for it and these teams are still competing today, barring the freshly disbanded Aerowolf.
Why is it so expensive?
Imagine what a team can do with US$1 million. They can build a great gaming house, create training facilities, produce awesome merchandise, or even create a new superstar team. Instead, 8 teams paid US$1 million to enter the MPL. What attracted them to enter was the popularity of the MPL itself. MLBB is extremely popular amongst youngsters in Indonesia, exactly their target market.
To be fair, 50% of the league’s earnings are fairly divided into 8. Each team receives the same amount, no matter their final standings in the league. In the future, there might also be broadcasting rights thrown into the mix; teams with a higher viewership count might get paid more than the others (I know you have one in mind).
The franchise league’s most important aspect is that they want to protect the players, similar to the Overwatch League back in 2016. MPL has set a minimum salary for players, so players feel safe playing without thinking of their payment.
In the end, it’s all about numbers. Take a look at this detailed viewership stats by Esports Charts.
If you are a brand looking for a team to sponsor, you might be drooling to look at these stats; an instant brand awareness to more than 1 million people in a single match of MPL. In our opinion, this is the primary reason the MPL franchise league is so expensive and exclusive.
Rumor has it that to enter MPL now, it’s not US$1 million anymore. Perhaps it has ballooned to double, triple, or even more.