The news first surfaced in an Inven Global article. So far, not much is clear about where the stadium will be situated and how it will be managed, but Riot said they’re aiming to provide the best possible experience to players and fans across the globe. In order to do that, Riot will most likely be trying to replicate the NA and EU LCS studios.
And while that sounds fine and dandy, there’s a huge conflict of interest behind this message.
A clash of cultures
As many fans already know, LCK is a South Korean League of Legends competition. The league is conducted through two yearly splits that last for 10 weeks (plus playoffs), and each week includes 9 Bo3s between different teams. As you can see, the scope here is huge, and it’s one of the reasons why LCK is regarded as the most competitive league in the world.
Of course, it’s reasonable to ask how this is possible without a Riot-sanctioned stadium. The answer is simple.
LCK already has two stadiums at its disposal: OGN eSports Stadium (managed by OGN) and Nexon Arena (managed by SPOTV). OGN, in particular, is a massive Korean cable television channel that’s been known for broadcasting esports titles like Starcraft, League of Legends, and Overwatch. With over 17 years of experience in creating content around video games, OGN is well versed in delivering a quality product to its viewers.
That’s why Riot’s premise of improving LCK’s quality strikes us as disingenuous. After all, the league has been doing well for itself in the hands of OGN, so the decision to build a dedicated Riot Games stadium is nothing more than a power play aimed at taking control of the Korean League of Legends. In the past, OGN has always been an autonomous entity—a state of things Riot tried to change by bringing in SPOTV into the picture.
Evidently, that wasn’t enough.
It’s hard to argue that a game publisher shouldn’t have the right to control its product. But with the recent announcements of North American and European leagues switching to Bo1s, we’re very worried LCK is going to follow suit. It’s no secret that Korean esports function very differently compared to the Western scene, and Riot meddling in things they don’t understand may lead to an even greater decline than what happened to the EU LCS.
Of course, there’s a chance we’re completely wrong.
But knowing Riot, we doubt that’s the case.
What do you think about Riot Games’ decision to build a dedicated LCK stadium? Share your opinion in the comments below!
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