Seoul – a Mecca of eSports

Posted on: Jan 09, 2019 By smartlaunch in News and trends,

Seoul – the 10 million mega capital of South Korea is the Mecca of eSports. Whether Dota, League of Legends, or Blizzard’s StarCraft, there’s hardly a game in the eSports universe that doesn’t feature one of South Korea’s top teams.

Its media presence is one of the reasons why eSports is so popular in this country. For 18 years eSports has been broadcast on TV in South Korea. One of the best known stations is OnGameNet (OGN).

OGN was founded in 2000 and now belongs to the CJ Group, a huge conglomerate that generates billions in revenues and whose entertainment division accounts for around 19% of the total. OGN not only broadcasts various tournaments, but also hosts them itself, and has done so since 2000.

The success of eSports in South Korea is based on several pillars. It was possible at an early stage to create professional structures at all levels and to make eSport accessible to a broad mass of people. The driving force in the background was the Korean e-Sports Association (KeSPA). Already in 2005 more than 100,000 spectators watched the final of the merged Pro League at the Gwangalli beach. In contrast to many other countries in which eSports leagues already existed in the past, KeSPA in Seoul established an organisation which, at the same time as the increasing professionalisation of sport by the above-mentioned television leagues, also created the corresponding framework conditions that encouraged this development.

The Korean eSports Association is already a member of the National Olympic Committee of South Korea. Thanks to the powerful donors who supported KeSPA, it was already possible for the company to build the world’s first pure eSports stadium in 2005. This was built in the Yongsan district and is still the Mecca for every eSports fan.

The market attracts large investors. Many of the South Korean pro teams have potent sponsors like SK Telecom, Samsung or Korea Telecom behind them who take care of everything. Often the teams live together in one house and are supported in every respect.

The young players are recruited from the so-called “PC-Bangs”, of which there are estimated to be more than 20,000 in South Korea – these are most comparable to cyber cafés and open 24 hours a day.


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