SK Gaming have announced that they are returning to League of Legends as they field a team in the DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) regional league. They are also partnering with German telecommunication company Deutsche Telekom.
The team's lineup, which is set to compete in the League of Legends Premier Tour in the DACH region, is as follows:
Scarface, SozPurefect and Doss have played together in the 2018 Superliga Orange spring split in the Spanish LVP, where they finished sixth. They will be joined by Phrenic, a member of the EURONICS Gaming squad that dominated the ESL Meisterschaft in the 2018 spring season, which led to their qualification to the European Masters. To round out the team, former ALTERNATE aTTaX bot laner Keduii joins the side.
The organization has also entered a partnership with German telecommunications provider Deutsche Telekom, which is (by revenue) the largest in Europe. SK Gaming's marketing director, Jens Wundenberg, told The Esports Observer that Deutsche Telekom was a driving force behind the organization's return to League of Legends, and that the two parties are in discussion for a multi-year partnership - a matter which would strengthen SK's case for a franchising spot in the 2019 European LCS, should they chase one.
Wundenberg also had the following to say regarding the deal on SK Gaming's website:
We couldn't be happier to announce Deutsche Telekom as our strategic partner for 2018. Deutsche Telekom have a vast experience when it comes to professional sports, live events and, of course, telecommunications infrastructure and digitization.
The company will be a driving force behind our League of Legends efforts and will support SK Gaming in general as we are looking to expand our infrastructure and strengthen our ties here in Germany in the months and years to come.
SK Gaming was one of the first esports organizations to contribute to the League of Legends scene and famously housed current G2 Esports owner Carlos "ocelote" Rodríguez Santiago in its lineups from Dec. 2010 to Dec. 2013. The organization was at the forefront of competitive League of Legends in Europe from 2010 until 2015, reaching the World Championship twice during that time frame.
However, the team experienced relegation at the conclusion of the 2015 LCS summer split, before ceasing operations in League of Legends after failing to qualify for the 2016 Challenger Series summer split. Changes in the League of Legends space and the Deutsche Telekom partnership have brought them back into the scene, albeit not in the LCS.
Edit (15/06/18): Per SPONSORs.de's information, the partnership between SK Gaming and Deutsche Telekom exclusively pertains to League of Legends, and further collaboration is highly dependent on the success of SK's application for a franchising spot in the 2019 European LCS. In such an event, SK Gaming's League of Legends structure is set to receive Deutsche Telekom's full backing in terms of telecommunication infrastructure, digitization and financial resources, which reportedly amounts to a six-figure sum in the first year.
The lineup the structure has fielded allows the organization to compete in the DACH region, but is likely lacks sufficient strength for the LCS. Should SK secure an LCS spot, the lineup would be expected to change.
Disclosure: Cybersport.com and SK Gaming are part of the same financial holding.