WHO: South Korean teams Samsung Galaxy (Coach Woobum “Edgar” Choi and players Sungjin “CuVee” Lee, Chanyong “Ambition” Kang, Minho “Crown” Lee, Jaehyeok “Ruler” Park, and Jimin “Wraith” Kwon) vs. last year’s champs SK Telecom T1 (Coach Jeonggyun “kkOma” Kim and players Hoseong “Duke” Lee, Sungu “Blank” Kang, Sanghyeok “Faker” Lee, Junsik “Bang” Bae, and Jaewan “Wolf” Lee).
WHY WE CARE: LA-based League of Legends developer, Riot Games, marks its 10th anniversary with its sixth World Championship and two-day immersive fan-focused League Festival on home turf. E-Sports—competitive video gaming—is an exploding global industry, expecting to reach nearly $500 million in revenue this year and more than double that in 2019. League, a multiplayer online battle arena game involving strategy and fighting, ranks among the top games in players, tournaments, and prize money. It attracts 100 million players a month, with last year’s finals, in Berlin, drawing over 334 million viewers—more than most traditional sports.
Despite its popularity, the industry is still forming, looking to improve broadcast and event production quality, team profitability and player salaries, and business models enabling team organizations to share responsibility and accountability for the sport’s long-term success and stability. Riot’s solutions include building up regional leagues and fan engagement through sponsorships, merchandise, and in-game content profit-sharing.