[Photo by Joint Press Corps]
E-sports fans flocked to the The Gocheok Sky Dome in Guro District, western Seoul, on Sunday to see South Korea play against China in the 2023 League of Legends (LoL) World Championship finals.
Korea’s T1 defeated China’s Weibo Gaming with a game score of 3-0, claiming the championship for the fourth consecutive time since the event started.
In addition to the arena, which was packed with fans, Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul also attracted a large crowd of supporters.
Seoul City installed a large screen at the location for fans that were not able to get tickets and broadcast the game live, in the first cheering event of its kind for an e-sports event.
About 10,000 fans gathered at Gwanghwamun Square on Sunday, according to the Seoul city government.
The LoL World Championship, which was held in Korea for the first time in five years, gained the gaming industry’s attention as a turning point for the global e-sports industry, which had been stagnant due to the aftermath of the pandemic and economic slump.
According to Riot Games, the developer behind LoL, the World recorded some historic figures both online and offline.
The viewership ratings ? based on the highest simultaneous connection calculated internally by Riot Games until the semi-finals ? increased by 65 percent compared to last year’s tournament held in the United States and Mexico.
The viewership for this year’s Championship, based on cumulative connections, is expected to surpass a record 400 million people, and the number of simultaneous viewers for the final game is also expected to exceed 100 million. The number of simultaneous viewers for the 2021 LoL final was also a record 73.86 million.
From October 10 to November 19, 22 teams from around the world gathered to hold a total of 53 games, from qualifiers to tournaments, in Seoul and Busan.
During the period, offline spectators numbered 70,000, according to records. All the games held in Seoul, including the qualifiers, were sold out.
The 18,000 seats for this year’s final were sold out in just 10 minutes in August 2023. The cheapest tier 8 seat was sold for 80,000 won ($61) and the highest tier 1 seat for 245,000 won.
A tier 1 seat was even traded for up to 3 million won on an online second-hand trading platform.
The e-sports industry is eyeing the LoL Championship in Korea as an opportunity to revive the global e-sports market. According to market research agency Statista, Korea is projected to have the third-largest e-sports market this year at $274.4 million, following the United States at $871 million and China at $445.2 million.
By Park Dong-hwan, Hwang Soon-min, and Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]