“League of Legends,” one of the most popular e-sports video games in the world, had its pinnacle moment on Saturday night.
That’s where people watched two teams face off in the finals of the “League of Legends” World Championships.
It was held in a stadium in Seoul that was built for the 2002 World Cup.
The stadium can accomodate 45,000 people, and was poised to sell out as of September. And millions more watched it online.
The guys who took home the $1 million prize, as well as a 70-pound trophy (called the Summoner’s Cup), is Korean team Samsung White, which used to be known as MVP White until Samsung took over sponsorship in 2013. It overthrew team Star Horn Royal Club, which has three members who are from China, two from Korea, and one from Hong Kong.
Their ages range from 17-21.
It’s appropriate that the match was played in Seoul, where e-sports has its own television channel and players train as though it were an athletic sport. And it’s not a coincidence that 7 out of the 10 people who played in Saturday’s match are Korean.
“Most of the biggest championships are won by Chinese and Koreans simply because the number who go at it in a professional manner and put everything aside are from those two countries. In the West that’s difficult, in the West many wouldn’t say e-sports is everything in their life, but in China and South Korea they would say it is,” NewZoo Chief Executive Peter Warman told The New York Times’ Paul Mozur. NewZoo is a market research firm for the gaming industry.
— Becca Roberts (@BeccaCRoberts) October 16, 2014
The road to the finals was no easy path. The teams had to go through several rounds consisting of dozens of matches before showing off their talents on Saturday night.
Based on its stats, Samsung White seemed to be the favorite to win, and it didn’t disappoint. Leading up to the finals, it cleared its whole Group without losing a single match and had a 12-1 record.
But, even with its 11-5 record, Star Horn Royal Club didn’t go down easy.