Korean e-Sports Association
|Purpose||Manage e-Sports in South Korea|
|11 member corporations|
|Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism|
|Affiliations||Korean Olympic Committee|
The Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA) is a South Korean body established to manage e-sports in South Korea. As of June 2012[update], it was the managing body for 25 e-sports in the country, including Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
KeSPA was founded in 2000 after the approval of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Its official goal is to make e-Sports an official sporting event, and to solidify the commercial position of e-Sports in all sectors. The organization manages the broadcasting of e-Sports, the formation of new events, and the conditions in which progamers 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.
Match Fixing Controversy
In April 2010, eleven Starcraft players were implicated for match fixing during the 2009 e-Sports season. The Sanction Subcommittee of KeSPA banned them from playing e-Sports in the future, and those implicated are due to be charged in criminal courts by KeSPA, as well as professional gaming teams. Along with progamers, the owners of over twelve illegal gambling websites, and former players and staff members will be charged. It is alleged that players were bribed to leak information, or lose games, allowing owners of the illegal gambling site to obtain huge profits. There was an outcry in Korea following these developments.
Intellectual Property Dispute with Blizzard
In 2008, a slump in the distribution of e-Sports media was caused in part by the fear that video game developer Blizzard Entertainment would demand royalties from KeSPA, because of their intellectual property rights. In 2010, Blizzard Entertainment announced that negotiations were going poorly, and that they would only allow GomTV to broadcast Blizzard games. KeSPA responded saying that they will challenge Blizzard's intellectual property rights. However, soon after, MBC Game, a gaming television station, announced that they will negotiate with GOMtv, which Newhua news speculated would lessen KeSPA's power.
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