Riot Games is seeking yet more autonomy in the premiere League of Legends esports scene, as Riot Korea announces the creation of a brand new studio in Seoul.
The new arena, handed the snappy moniker “LoL Park“, will play host to up to 450 LCK fans, as Riot moves to broadcasting the Korean league for the first time, it was announced this week. The league is currently delivered by OGN and SPOTV, after the latter was handed a hearty share of the limelight last year when Riot made the decision to divide the LCK broadcast between the two networks.
The new system will see Riot run affairs itself, emulating the current system employed in the EU and NA LCS. The new home of the LCK will be on the third floor of ‘Gran Seoul’, with a 56,900 square foot stadium planned to open in September 2018.
The arena will be equipped with three giant HD screens, and will feature chairs with USB charging ports, drink holders and food trays. The venue will also include an internet cafe with a suite of games (not just League!) and a coffee shop, named ‘Bilgewater’ after the mythical pirate region of League of Legends’ lore.
“Just because we are planning to broadcast LCK doesn’t mean we’re cutting our ties with OGN or SPOTV,” said Riot Korea’s president, Lee Seung-Hyun, in a presentation on Monday. “We will continue to work together.”
The company is currently in the process of acquiring talent in time for when the LoL Park opens its doors in late 2018. “The fans’ love is the most important. Starting next year, we’ll give our ears to the fans and choose considerately and correctly.”
With construction due to start in January, operations are moving swiftly as Riot invests into the region. According to Lee Seung-Hyun, the company has already spent 30 billion won (£21 million) to get this far, and will continue to invest more to maintain development of the LCK, and of LoL Esports.
Esports Insider says: Riot stepped on OGN’s toes when they divided their broadcast with SPOTV, a move which ignited controversy after the network had virtually grown the Korean League of Legends esports scene by itself. Taking the broadcast away completely is a brutal blow to the network, and although Riot has promised not to sever their ties completely, its unclear how the broadcasters will fit into the new system. On a positive note, the stadium plans look terrific and it will be fascinating to follow development.