Max “Atlus” Anderson, an Australian League of Legends broadcaster, who currently casts the LCK announced there will be no English broadcast of the upcoming 2019 KeSPA Cup for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 2015.
KeSPA Cup is an annual League of Legends tournament, organized by Korea e-Sports Association, which features top South Korean League of Legends teams competing for the largest slice of ₩ 100,000,000 (~ US $86,200) and the glory that comes with winning the cup.
The 2019 KeSPA Cup, which is set to kick off on Monday, December 23, will mark the fifth instalment of the tournament and the first time it will feature 20 teams competing for the title. The line-up will consist of LCK teams, Challengers Korea league teams (with exception of VSG and MVP), as well as two teams who qualified via 2019 KeG Championship.
Despite being a tournament which is reserved only for South Korean LoL teams, the KeSPA Cup is widely regarded as one of the biggest LoL tournaments of the year, which draws in viewers from all over the globe, including those from Europe and North America.
Unfortunately, the Western viewers will have severe difficulties tuning in to KeSPA Cup this year, as there will be no English broadcast of the event, meaning those who do not understand Chinese or South Korean will have a hard time following the action as it unfolds on the screen.
The announcement which unveiled the controversial decision surfaced this Friday on Max Anderson's Twitter page, where he explained he received the bad news of there being no English broadcast for KeSPA Cup.
“Super disappointing to hear that KeSPA and Riot Korea have decided that the 2019 KeSPA Cup will have no English broadcast,” said the general manager and former LCK commentator Chris “PapaSmithy” Smith.
“The viewership numbers for last year’s KeSPA Cup were massive—the global fans who have supported Korean League of Legends deserve MUCH better.”
Unlike this year, last year's KeSPA Cup was broadcasted in English, for all the LCK fans who got a chance to see the newest LCK rosters in action after an active 2018 offseason, which saw many roster changes among the biggest names in the LCK. This offseason was no different in terms of huge roster changes, with many big names either changing teams or retiring from the pro scene. Unfortunately for the English-speaking LCK fans who wish to see the new rosters in action, they will have to battle a huge language barrier when watching this year's tournament.
While there could be a way around the issue with restreaming which would allow for unofficial English broadcasts of the event, even that is not possible, as it was announced such streams will not be allowed, thus closing the doors on an alternative fix to the issue.
The announcement was understandably not accepted well by the League of Legends community who were left disheartened as they would not be able to enjoy KeSPA Cup in a way they expected. That being said, there is some hope the issue will be addressed and resolved.
Shortly after Max Anderson's announcement, T1 CEO Joe Marsh took a step forward and replied to Anderson’s Tweet stating there needs to be an English stream, as English fans deserve the right to be involved in KeSPA Cup, seeing how League of Legends is a global league and should be reaching out to all fans.
In a bid to help fix the issue and "start the 2020 season the proper way", Joe Marsh unveiled that T1 and Gen.G are prepared to share the cost of English casters for the KeSPA Cup if it meant the tournament organizers would allow for English broadcast.
Will the KeSPA Cup organizers and the two Korean organizations reach an agreement is yet to be seen, however, with the tournament just a couple of days away, we can expect more details to be released shortly.