The KeSPA Cup (Hangul: 케스파컵) is an annual esports event organized by KeSPA, the Korean eSports Association. As of the 2020 edition, the tournament is organized for League of Legends. Until 2016, the tournament was also organized for StarCraft II.
The first KeSPA cup was hosted in 2005 as a tournament to allow professional StarCraft teams to play against amateur teams. Events were also held for Special Force, Kartrider, and FreeStyle Street Basketball. The second event was held in 2007 at Sejong University and also included WarCraft III and Counter-Strike.
In 2014, seven years since the last event, KeSPA Cup was brought back for its modern iteration and it has been held every year since. StarCraft II was the only game that had a tournament in the relaunch of the initiative and it featured 16 of the year's best players playing for 8 million South Korean won. The following year, two tournaments for StarCraft II were held, the first in May and the second in July. League of Legends was added as one of the events in 2015.
In 2016, Alex "Neeb" Sunderhaft became the first non-Korean StarCraft player to win a major Korean tournament in sixteen years after winning the 2016 KeSPA Cup. The previous non-Korean champion was Guillaume Patry, who won the first OnGameNet StarLeague in 2000.
The format for the original StarCraft KeSPA Cup was a team based event where professional teams under KeSPA played against amateur teams. There have been no more tournaments held for StarCraft since 2007.
|Year||Name of Tournament||Winner|
|2005||The First KeSPA Cup||Samsung|
|2007||The Second KeSPA Cup||MBC Game Hero|
KeSPA Cup was relaunched with a StarCraft II tournament. All of the tournaments are all part of the StarCraft II World Championship Series and thus award WCS points to the participants. The format for the tournament is a sixteen player elimination tournament starting with group stages and entering a playoffs round in the round of 8.
|Year||Name of Tournament||Winner||Score||Runner Up||Total Prize Pool (KRW)|
|2014||2014 KeSPA Cup||Joo "Zest" Sung Wook||4–1||Kim "herO" Joon Ho||80,000,000|
|2015||GiGA Internet 2015 KeSPA Cup Season 1||Kim "herO" Joon Ho||4–3||Park "Dark" Ryung Woo||25,000,000|
|2015||LOTTE Homeshopping 2015 KeSPA Cup Season 2||Eo "soO" Yoon Su||4–1||Park "Dark" Ryung Woo||25,000,000|
|2016||2016 KeSPA Cup||Alex "Neeb" Sunderhaft||4–0||Cho "Trap" Sung Ho||55,000,000|
League of Legends
|Year||Winner||Score||Runner Up||Total Prize Pool (KRW)|
|2015||ESC Ever||3–0||CJ Entus||100,000,000|
|2016||ROX Tigers||3–1||Kongdoo Monster||100,000,000|
|2017||KT Rolster||3–2||Longzhu Gaming||100,000,000|
|2019||Afreeca Freecs||3–0||Sandbox Gaming||158,000,000|
|2020||Damwon Gaming||3–0||Nongshim RedForce||144,000,000|
- "Kespa Cup Bracket". March 4, 2007. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- "[스타2] KeSPA Cup 부활! 올해는 스타크래프트2 글로벌 티어1 대회로 진행" [[StarCraft 2] KeSPA Cup Revival! Announcing a Global Tier 1 StarCraft 2 Tournament] (in Korean). May 21, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- "KESPA CUP IS COMING". November 3, 2015. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- "Neeb first non-Korean in 16 years to win premier South Korean StarCraft tourney". October 4, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- Daniel "Quest" Kwon (December 17, 2020). "Details of the 2020 KeSPA Cup Ulsan announced, T1 and Gen.G starts their respective Challengers team roster". Inven Global. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
- Woo "Ready" Hyun (December 6, 2018). "The 2018 KeSPA Cup Tournament Will Begin Mid-December". Inven Global. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
- Takyun "Laff" Pack; Daniel "Quest" Kwon (December 11, 2019). "League of Legends: It's back! The 2019 KeSPA Cup starts on the 23rd". Inven Global. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
- Martinello, Eva (December 17, 2020). "Group stage schedule and casters revealed for 2020 KeSPA Cup". Dot Esports. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
- Official website (in Korean)