The Korea Herald


South Korea's T1 win record fourth League of Legends world title


Published : Nov. 19, 2023 - 20:38

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(Joint Press Corps) (Joint Press Corps)

South Korean powerhouse T1 swept aside China's Weibo Gaming on Sunday to clinch a record fourth League of Legends world championship, widely considered the Super Bowl of e-sports.

T1 won three straight games in the best-of-five final at the Gocheok Sky Dome stadium in the South Korean capital, roared on by a capacity crowd of 18,000.

Legions of fans descended on Seoul for the final of the League of Legends world championship, which has rapidly grown since the first edition in 2011 into one of the crown jewels of the billion-dollar global e-sports industry.

Fireworks went off as T1 members lifted the trophy, bouncing in a huddle as the crowd chanted "T1! T1! T1!" The team includes Faker, a superstar gamer hailed as the Michael Jordan of e-sports, who has now also won a record four world titles.

Aged 27, Faker -- whose real name is Lee Sang-hyeok -- is the oldest League of Legends player to win the world title.

He has celebrity status in gaming-mad South Korea, where he gets a rockstar reception at public appearances and fans chant his name during matches.

T1 lost in the world final in San Francisco last year, and Faker described his team's dominant run this year as a "rare opportunity" to win the biggest prize in front of home fans.

Tickets for the final at the Sky Dome, which usually hosts baseball games, sold out in 10 minutes when they were made available in August, according to League of Legends maker Riot Games.

Thousands also gathered at a fan zone set up in central Seoul to watch the final, which was also screened live at more than 40 cinemas across South Korea.

At a viewing party at the China Communication University in Beijing, hundreds were glued to a big screen for the match.

"Watching the competition with so many at school, it feels really great," student Pang Jian, a Weibo Gaming supporter, told AFP. "I've shouted so much that my voice is gone.

League of Legends involves two teams with five players each competing in a battleground where the goal is to destroy the opponent's base.

It is the most watched e-sport in the world, with tens of millions tuning in to livestreams from competitions every year.

Britain will host the 2024 world championship, with the final at The O2 Arena in London, Riot Games announced on Sunday.

E-sports are forecast to reach an audience of nearly 1.4 billion by 2025, according to a report last year by industry research firm Newzoo. (AFP)

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