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Korea e-Sports Association

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Korea e-Sports Association

The Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA) is a South Korean body established to manage e-sports in South Korea. It is a member of the Korean Olympic Committee and the International e-Sports Federation. As of June 2012, it was the managing body for 25 e-sports in the country, including Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void(Excluded in 2016), League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. KeSPA also hosts the KeSPA Cup, a yearly tournament event for some of their games.

The early years of KeSPA

KeSPA was founded in 2000 after the approval of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Its official goal is to make eSports an official sporting event, and to solidify the commercial position of eSports in all sectors. The organization manages the broadcasting of e-Sports, the formation of new events, and the conditions in which pro gamers work, as well as encourage the playing of video games by the general population. In 2008 SK Telecom was given the leading position on its board, effectively making Seo Jin-woo the organization's president. KeSPA regulates broadcasting by e-sports television channels such as Ongamenet, MBC Game, GOMtv, and Pandora TV, as well as 23 e-sports journalists and over twelve e-sports teams. Additionally, they have created a rankings system.

On May 11, 2012 after a slew of announcements from KeSPA regarding the transition between StarCraft: Brood War and StarCraft II, it was announced that they would be partnering with Major League Gaming, a US-based eSports organization to send KeSPA players to MLG events.

On October 27, 2014 KeSPA, alongside Riot Games and Ongamenet, issued a press release stating new policies directed toward the welfare Korean professional eSports players. Some of the major changes include a minimum salary for professional eSports players that is competitive with popular traditional sports, and setting a 1-year minimum for contracts between players and teams starting in the 2016 season. There were also many League of Legends specific changes that include limiting companies to have a minimum of one team with 10 players per team, and beginning a shift from tournament to league format for Korean Worlds qualifiers.

A 2016 article in ESPN said that KeSPA reported that it would shut down its Starcraft ProLeague. The article said that KeSPA chairman, Jun Byung-hun, said that they were shutting down their Starcraft ProLeague due to fewer ProLeagues and players, problems getting sponsorships and problems with match-fixing.


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