South Korean esports powerhouse T1 is gearing up to face China’s Weibo Gaming in the League of Legends world final in Seoul on Sunday, aiming for a record fourth win in an event widely known as the Super Bowl of esports.
The championship, rapidly growing since its inception in 2011, has become one of the crown jewels of the billion-dollar global esports industry. T1, looking to secure a title after losing in the 2022 world final, hopes to cap a dominant run in this year’s championship before a capacity crowd at the Gocheok Sky Dome, a baseball stadium.
Fans from around the world have flocked to the gaming-mad capital of South Korea, many wearing League of Legends costumes, to witness the spectacle. T1’s team, including superstar gamer Faker, often hailed as the Michael Jordan of esports, is seeking to make history with a fourth world title.
“I hope to end this rare opportunity with a positive result,” said Faker, whose real name is Lee Sang-hyeok. He enjoys celebrity status in South Korea, receiving a rockstar reception at public appearances, and fans chanting his name during matches.
The final, involving two teams with five players each competing to destroy the opponent’s base, has drawn immense attention. The 18,000 tickets for the final at the Sky Dome sold out in 10 minutes, according to League of Legends maker Riot Games. Over 40 cinemas across South Korea will also show the match live, with tickets for those screenings selling out rapidly.
League of Legends remains the most-watched esports globally, with tens of millions tuning in to livestreams from competitions every year. The industry is poised to reach an audience of nearly 1.4 billion by 2025, according to a report by industry research firm Newzoo.