Riot will build LoL PARK LCK Stadium in 2018

Riot’s new LCK stadium got a name and an opening date! What does this mean for the Korean League of Legends scene?

by Daniil Volkov

More information has surfaced on Riot’s new stadium in South Korea. Its name is going to be “LoL PARK,” and it will be located on the third floor of the Gran Seoul building, an easily accessible area in the very heart of the capital.

We’ve already covered the stadium’s announcement in a separate article, but now that Riot’s intentions are a bit more clear, does it change anything about this news?

Fixing what isn’t broken

It seems Riot is doubling down on the LCK.

The company claimed that it’s invested approximately $7.4m into the region this year, prioritizing production and pro scene above all else. Now it’s apparent that most of this money went to building the LoL PARK stadium. 

The venue will be set up like an arena, and players will be playing in its center. Additionally, it will be home to Riot’s very own PC bang. The company is planning to take over LCK’s production and is expressing interest in cooperating with OGN and SPOTV to deliver the Korean league to the masses. So far there’s no information on who will be casting the competition, or whether LCK commentators will continue working on a freelance basis. The good news, though, is that Riot isn’t going to force the Bo1 format, and LCK will continue running Bo3s in the regular season.

The bad news? Just about everything else.

This is still Riot interfering with a very self-sufficient region. OGN has a huge history in broadcasting esports and delivering a high-quality product to its viewers. And considering Riot Games are going to be entering uncharted territory, we foresee LCK’s production quality dropping at the beginning of 2019 (which is when Riot will be taking over). 

Then, there’s the ethical issue.

OGN and, to a lesser extent SPOTV, both invested heavily into developing the Korean League of Legends scene. The fact that they were running the LCK for so long on an independent basis means they’ve practically built the league from scratch. And while this makes things easier for Riot Games, it feels a bit… disingenuous for them to swoop in and snatch the league from its creators.

Finally, we can’t help wondering whether the LCK even needs such supervision. The region was functioning well enough on its own, and Riot’s involvement isn’t going to make it better or worse. Meanwhile, there are countless promising wildcard regions that could use the extra funding to build up a strong LoL scene. And Riot’s spending its resources on power plays in the LCK. 

What do you think about Riot Games plans on building the LoL PARK stadium and taking over LCK’s production? Share your opinion in the comments below!

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Daniil Volkov

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