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After careful consideration, Cloud9 has made the difficult decision to pause our participation in the Challengers League.

I’ve personally contacted each player and coach individually to discuss this decision and assure them of our continued support, including housing during their transition. I will actively assist them in finding opportunities with other teams.

Our mission with our development program has been to prepare our players to be promoted to the LCS. We have had a successful track record, winning five Academy championships resulting in promotions to C9 LCS as well as other LCS teams. These trades were critical to Cloud9 as they offset the high costs of running our program. However, in recent years, despite the removal of buyouts, we have been unable to promote players to any other LCS teams. In its current form, we believe the North American Challengers League does not provide a definitive path to becoming a professional player.

In addition to the challenges within the Academy system, we bear a significant financial burden without seeing progress for our players. Cloud9 invests $882,006 per year in direct expenses for our current Challengers roster, including salaries, housing, food, and other essentials to support our team. We also spend an additional $255,859 annually on the Challenger team in shared organizational costs, such as housekeeping and allocated time from other departments like Marketing and HR. To continue supporting our roster for the remainder of this season, we would need to invest approximately half a million dollars. Considering the limited viewership and lack of growth opportunities for our players, we cannot responsibly continue to invest in the Challengers League.

Despite stepping back from the Challenger League, Cloud9 remains dedicated to supporting player development through alternative solutions that could be more effective for our region. We are actively exploring ways to nurture and strengthen our relationships within the collegiate scene. We are confident that the collegiate scene holds significant potential, and we are excited to continue fostering relationships in this space.

As part of this commitment, Cloud9 aims to develop programs and opportunities for collegiate esports teams to visit our facilities, observe and scrim with our League of Legends team, and engage directly with our coaches and managers. This firsthand experience will offer valuable insights into Cloud9’s successful strategies and foster a culture of shared learning.

Cloud9 remains dedicated to the growth and development of League of Legend players and will continue to explore new avenues to support emerging talent in our region. By pausing our participation in the Challenger League, we seek to reallocate resources and focus on building and fostering stronger relationships within the collegiate scene to promote player development.

Jack Etienne
Co-Founder & CEO
Cloud9 Esports Inc.

Jack will be answering community questions regarding our decision Friday, May 19 at 9:00 AM PT in the Cloud9 STRATUS Discord and on the Cloud9 Subreddit.

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