Slingshot Readers,

We NEED your support. More specifically, the author of this article needs your support. If you've been enjoying our content, you know that a lot of work goes into our stories and although it may be a work of passion, writers gotta eat. If just half our readers gave 1 DOLLAR a month, one measly dollar, we could fund all the work from StuChiu, DeKay, Emily, Andrew (and even Vince). If you contribute 5 DOLLARS a month, we invite you to join our Discord and hang with the team. We wouldn't bother you like this if we didn't need your help and you can feel good knowing that 100% of your donation goes to the writers. We'd really appreciate your support. After all, you're what makes all this happen. Learn more

Immortals coach on Korean orgs’ lukewarm interest in Overwatch League: “Korean enterprises are not as big as North American ones, so it’s hard to spend that much money.”

Immortals coach Ookz says it's too expensive for Korean esports orgs to buy into the Overwatch League.
Immortals Overwatch coach Ookz says it's too expensive for Korean esports orgs to buy into the Overwatch League.

Immortals coach Kim “Ookz” Dong-wook shed some light as to why he thinks endemic Korean esports organizations might be reluctant to join Overwatch League.

Immortals is one of the first seven organizations to be granted an Overwatch League team. Another team will be in Seoul, South Korea, and it was sold to Kevin Chou, an entrepreneur from Silicon Valley. Ookz said in an interview with Slingshot (in Korean and translated to English) that Korean orgs are tepid about the large price tag to acquire an Overwatch League spot.

“Korean enterprises are not as big as North American ones, so it’s hard to spend that much money,” he said. “Korean esports organizations spend an average 2 or 3 billion won (about $1.8 million to $2.8 million) per year on their teams, but the seeding costs 10 times as much. Another thing to consider is that although League of Legends and Overwatch are different games, they’re marketed to the same demographic, so they don’t feel the need to jump in right now if they already have a successful League team.”

The reported $20 million price tag for an Overwatch League slot was initially met with concern from the Korean esports community. For any Korean organization that already operates a strong League of Legends team — such as giants like SK Telecom and KT — justifying a financial investment of that scale would be incredibly difficult.

Concerns regarding Korea’s lack of involvement were also shared by Lunatic-Hai coach, Chae “alwaysoov” Ho-jeong, when he said esports organization in the Korean eSports Association don’t trust Blizzard to run a league of this scale. With a financial wall and an innate lack of trust, it’s no wonder then why Korean orgs aren’t excited to join the Overwatch League.

If that trend continues, what will happen to the professionals in Korea? Korea is still considered the strongest region for Overwatch, and their talents would go wasted if they chose not to play professionally — or chose to play professionally elsewhere. Ookz said that barring expansion of more Korean-based Overwatch League teams, he expects the players to scatter all over the world.

“With only Seoul on the table, the Korean players who don’t want to leave will initially want to stay,” he said. “But a lot of the teams are all overseas right now. I expect between the end of this year and the beginning of next year, a lot players will be moving. Many good players will go overseas.”


Leave a Reply