|▲ The winner of the 2023 League of Legends World Championship, T1, is holding a trophy and during a ceremony (Source: News1)
The 2023 League of Legends World Championship (2023 LOL World Cup), which has been going on for six weeks since October, ended with the victory of the South Korean team. In the final match held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Guro- gu, Seoul, on the 19th, South Korean game team T1 beat China's LPL "Weibo Gaming" 3:0 and rose to the top of the world once again after seven years. More than 18,000 e- sports fans were at Gocheok Dome, and 15,000 people cheered on the streets at Gwanghwamun Square. Faker Lee Sang- hyuk, who won the youngest title in 2013 and is considered the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) in e-sports, as well as "Zeus" Choi Woo- je and "Keria" Ryu Min- seok, who won the MVP of the finals, played an active part in the game.
The LOL Cup is the world championship of the League of Legends (LOL) game, the largest in the e- sports market worldwide. The scale is enormous as it has global companies such as Mercedes Benz, Mastercard, Red Bull, and Coca- Cola as official sponsors. The League of Legends game plays nine leagues worldwide, categorized into four major leagues covering South Korea and North America, China, Europe and the Middle East, and Africa, and five minor leagues, including Japan, Vietnam, Brazil, and others. A total of 800 players from more than 100 teams play in these professional leagues. The LOL World Cup, which began in 2011, is a tournament that finishes the regular season with 22 teams around the world gathering in one place to decide who’s the final winner. In Korea, preliminary rounds and tournaments have been held in Seoul and Busan since October. The e- sports industry, which faced a recession after the Pandemic, was pessimistic about the success of this year's LOL World Cup, but the preliminary ratings for the semifinals of this year was 65 percent higher than last year's tournament in the United States and Mexico, exceeding expectations.
T1's move in this LOL World Cup was like a drama. Participation in the LOL World Cup was in jeopardy. Due to a sudden slump in the second half of the regular season, they hardly managed the 50% winning rate, which is the requirement to participate in the LOL World Cup, and have been in second place in all competitions. In the first game of the LOL World Cup, they showed a bit of a sluggish performance, losing to North America's "Team Liquid Honda." However, joining the quarterfinals by winning all the rest of the games, T1 overturned everyone's expectations against China's "LNG" and recorded a complete victory of 3:0. Meeting "Jingdong Gaming," the No. 1 favorite to win all domestic and international competitions, in the semifinals, they beat them 3:1, and won the championship with a complete victory over "Weibo Gaming" in the final. With the victory of the tournament, T1 captain Faker set a milestone of winning the league's first LOL World Cup four times and became a player with both records: the youngest winner and the oldest.
T1’s captain Lee Sang- hyuk (Faker) said after the match, "I'm so grateful that I was able to play in front of a lot of people. Everyone worked so hard, and I'm so thankful.” President Yoon Suk- Yeol also sent a message of congratulations and encouragement to the T1 team, saying, "After winning four medals at the Hangzhou Asian Games, where e- sports was chosen as an official event for the first time, this victory has once again made Korea known to the world as a leader of e- sports." Analysts say that the holding of the LOL World Cup will have an economic effect of 200 billion won, and the future growth of e- sports is drawing attention, while the problem such as operating costs of e- sports which leads to clubs’ deficit and their dependence on endorsements are being highlighted. As we were able to confirm the public's interest in e- sports through this LOL World Cup, we will have to lay the foundation for Korea's e-sports to have international competitiveness in the future.
By Kim So-ha, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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