KeSPA (Korean eSports Association) the Korean body for eSports was founded in 2000 with the original goal of making eSports an official sporting event. KeSPA regulates broadcasting from channels such as GOMtv, and Pandora TV, these were the original go to channels for on demand videos of the best Korean Starcraft II games, quickly establishing itself as the ‘eSports Hub” Additionally, creating their own rankings system.
May / 11 / 2012 KeSPA announced that they would be partnering with Major League Gaming, a US-based eSports organization to send KeSPA players to MLG events. October / 27 / 2014 KeSPA,partnering with Riot Games and Ongamenet, stated their new for the welfare of Korean professional eSports players and teams, salary for professional eSports and setting 1-year minimum for contracts between players and teams were just some of the major changes they implemented that have innovated the way for current eSports players that make their living off competing.
A statement issued by the chairman, Jun Byung-Hun highlighted the drop in the number of ‘ProLeague’ teams and players and the ‘difficulty securing sponsorships’ as some of the main reasons for discontinuing the league, But a more sinister reason could be held responsible.
2015 saw KeSPA being involved with Match-Fixing allegations that included several Korean pro-gamers and a coach, who had been involved in fixing StarCraft II matches. They were subsequently banned for lifetime by KeSPA.In early 2016, even more players were charged for Match-Fixing resulting in people have being outraged by the elements that led to the closing of ProLeague. It’s unfortunate and a big loss for the eSports community seeing the end of the longest-running esports league in the world, reminding us of the harshness that comes along with substantial amounts of money mixed with fulfilling your dreams, whether it’s becoming a Pro eSports player or a Pro traditional athlete.
What does this mean for the future of eSports?
As eSports matures we are seeing regulations tighten up similar to traditional sports, with Match-Fixing investigations, Drug abuse testing and Gambling allegations being issued, sportsmanship will definitely raise in the scene but for an industry made for “games” serious measures have been taken lately, I would still like to see players and their personalities shine through but until eSports stabilises as an industry I hope to see less legal issues and more intense matches with higher stakes on the line as opposed to a giant cash prize.