It’s not been a great season in the Bundesliga for Schalke 04.
After 22 matches in league play, the Gelsenkirchen club have managed to only pick up 9 points out of a possible 66. With that low total, obviously, Schalke are staring at a possible relegation from the Bundesliga for the first time since being promoted into the top flight at the end of the 1990/91 season. After thirty straight seasons in the Bundesliga, it’s very likely that Schalke will be in the 2.Bundesliga next season.
With debts in the realm of €200 million and the COVID-19 pandemic still raring it’s ugly head, Schalke are at a crossroads. This season, they drastically cut back on player salaries and have made a lot of cuts to the backroom staff. Relegation from the first division will drastically cut the club’s revenues, forcing them to look around at other cost-cutting measures.
Now, Schalke have confirmed a report from L’Equipe that the club is looking at possibly selling their slot in the League of Legends European Championship. The LEC is a closed league structure, similar to American sports. The French paper estimates Schalke could make €20 million for their position in the league.
In a statement released late Wednesday, Schalke confirmed that “the club needs to look into all options to secure additional funding” as it’s existence in the Bundesliga is under major threat right now; however, the made clear that “the club getting relegated doesn’t necessarily force us to sell the slot.”
The LEC has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and a study last year found that the LEC “has a higher Average Minute Audience (AMA) than sports such as tennis, basketball and rugby union for those aged between 16 and 29”. They compared broadcasts from the Heineken Champions Cup, a tennis grand slam, the UEFA Champions League and the LEC, per CNN.
In their statement, Schalke reiterated that “the club does not want or have to sell the LEC slot”, but with the soccer side of the club being run so poorly for so many years, the club may not have a choice but to sell their place in the LEC in order to ensure survival.