SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Thousands of fans from around the world have descended on South Korea’s capital Seoul for the League of Legends world championship final on Sunday, widely considered the Super Bowl of e-sports.
First held in 2011, the League of Legends world championship has rapidly grown to become one of the crown jewels of e-sports, which are globally forecast to attract audiences of nearly 1.4 billion by 2025.
South Korean powerhouse T1, who lost in last year’s world final, will take on China’s Weibo Gaming at the Gocheok Sky Dome, a 16,000-capacity baseball stadium.
“Every time the LoL world championship was held in South Korea, we were not able to advance, but this year, we’ve secured the opportunity to play… in front of our Korean fans,” T1’s Faker, a superstar often hailed as the Michael Jordan of e-sports, said at a press conference this week.
“I hope to end this rare… opportunity with a positive result.”
Faker, whose real name is Lee Sang-hyeok, is looking to win a record fourth world title with T1. He won gold with South Korea at the Asian Games this year.
He has celebrity status in gaming-mad South Korea, where fans chant his name during matches.
At a fan zone set up for the final in central Seoul, people queued up to take photos with life-sized cutouts of Faker and his team.
“My favorite is Faker,” said Park Jeong-hyeon, a 22-year-old student who said she has been playing League of Legends with her friends for three years.