The League of Legends G.O.A.T. Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok’s contract expired on Monday (21 November), and while there has been no information from his organisation T1, that hasn't stopped the rumours from already starting to surface.
Without a contract extension announced, Faker is considered to be in free agency, a time in conventional sports when players may shop around for better contracts before re-signing with their current organisation.
Faker, like many other pro players as well as athletes in other sports, may utilise offers from other prominent teams as leverage in his contract negotiations with T1 if they want to "test the waters".
The information on Faker's contract status is part of a publicly-listed database maintained by League of Legend's publisher, Riot Games, and according to Alejandro Gomis of Blix.gg, the mid laner is considering offers from multiple regions.
What are the chances of Faker leaving T1?
The same rumour stated that despite offers and negotiations with multiple regions, Faker is likely to stay with T1.
The LoL legend has been with the organisation throughout the entirety of his esports career, winning three World Championship titles and two mid-season invitationals.
This also isn't the first time the T1 player reportedly received and rejected multi-million dollar offers from other regions.
In 2020, it was reported that Faker rejected a US $10 million per year contract and even a “blank cheque offer” from the LCS.
He even turned down a US $20 million per year offer from China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL) last year, according to T1 CEO Joe Marsh.
The T1 CEO revealed in the same interview that developing a relationship with Faker and his family was key to keeping him in T1.
Faker also became part owner of T1 that year, increasing his chances of staying with the winningest organisation in League of Legends' esports history.
It's likely that Faker would need to sell his T1 shares to leave the team, much like what Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg did when he sold his TSM shares to join Team Liquid last year.
Are T1 still good enough for Faker?
Season 2022 was the closest the LoL G.O.A.T. had been to raising his fourth Summoner’s Cup, with his team pulling off an undefeated streak in the League of Legends Korea Championship (LCK) Spring split.
T1 then finished second place at the Mid-Season Invitational after being defeated by Royal Never Give Up, and then were defeated by Gen.G in the LCK Summer Finals.
Faker made and broke records throughout the season, effectively cementing his place as the greatest LoL pro of all time.
At Worlds 2022, T1 had a dominant run in the Group stage, exacted revenge against RNG in the quarterfinals, and took down JD Gaming 3-1 in the semifinals to make it to their first Worlds grand finals since 2017.
However, heavy underdogs DRX, led by Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, pulled off a 3-2 upset in the grand finals, denying Faker and T1 their fourth World Championship title.
With the team’s stellar performance throughout the year and Faker reportedly synergising well with the new generation of T1, this likely will be a huge factor in his decision whether to stay with the organisation.
As of writing, T1 and Faker have not announced anything about the player’s status with the organisation.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.