Ex-TSM executive Leena Xu claims org doesn't see value for money in the LCS - Dexerto
League of Legends

Ex-TSM executive Leena Xu claims org doesn’t see value for money in the LCS

Published: 28/Feb/2022 13:37 Updated: 28/Feb/2022 13:43

by Meg Kay

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In comments on Peter ‘Doublelift’ Peng’s Twitch stream, Aileena ‘Leena’ Xu, TSM’s ex-president of esports had some interesting revelations about the team’s off-season, and the organization’s plans for its future in the esports space.

It’s been a rough few months for TSM. Once considered one of North America’s premier League of Legends organizations, they now have one of the worst-performing teams in the LCS.

CEO Andy ‘Reginald’ Dinh is currently under investigation by Riot Games following allegations of a toxic workplace environment. The organization has lost multiple notable members of staff in recent months, including former general manager Parth ‘Parth’ Naidu.

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Most recently, TSM have come under fire for the benching of support Wei ‘Shenyi’ Zijie after an 0-4 start to the LCS. TSM’s 2022 roster was touted by the organization as a developmental project, which would take a while to bear fruit, leaving many fans confused as to why roster swaps were being made so early into the split.

On an episode of Dexerto’s ‘The Jungle’, Christopher ‘Montecristo’ Mykkles hypothesized that TSM’s issues were coming from the fact that their roster was built by people who were no longer with the organization, namely Parth. On a recent LCS co-stream by Doublelift, for whom Leena is a moderator, she set the record straight on this speculation, claiming that TSM’s current roster was “not what Parth wanted”.

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TSM’s roster decisions

According to Leena, the priority for both her and Parth in the 2021 offseason was to re-sign TSM’s legendary midlaner Søren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg as a player after his hiatus – during which he was the head coach for TSM. However, Bjergsen ultimately decided was to join rival LCS organization Team Liquid.

With the org unable to retain Bjergsen, Leena stated that the ensuing plan was to secure a legacy NA roster with the core of mid laner Nicolaj ‘Jensen’ Jensen, AD Carry Yiliang ‘Doublelift’ Peng, and support Philippe ‘Vulcan’ Laflamme. However, she claims that TSM did not see this roster as ‘worth the cost’, instead choosing to sign their current lineup as a developmental project.

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TSM CEO Andy ‘Reginald’ Dinh later refuted these comments in the official TSM subreddit, stating that the cost of Leena’s projected roster would have been the same or lower than that of the team TSM are currently fielding.

He argued that TSM’s roster moves were not based on cost, as Leena had stated, but instead on wanting to build a winning roster over a three-year period, rather than aim for results in the first year.

Further revelations and TSM’s priorities

On the same Twitch stream, Leena offered further insight into TSM’s current business model, claiming that the org thought “the amount of money you spend into the LCS isn’t worth the value you get out.”

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According to her, TSM see greater value in their expansion into mobile gaming and other esports titles than it does in its LCS roster. She claimed this was one of the key reasons for her departure in 2021, and that the organization’s interests “no longer aligned” with her own.

It’s fairly common knowledge that League of Legends is not yet a profitable esport, with Riot’s Head of Esports John Needham confirming in an interview with the Washington Post that the game developer has yet to see a profit from its esports division.

TSM Reginald further supported this in a comment to the TSM subreddit in which he stated that TSM was only a profitable company because of its assets outside the esports space. He neither confirmed nor denied Leena’s assertion that TSM no longer saw the LCS as worth the cost.

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