As if it wasn’t enough that Monte and DoA were leaving the Korean League of Legends scene, on Monday night we all witnessed the miracle of broadcasting that is SPOTV.
Riot took a hard fork this year with the choice of splitting the LCK broadcasts between OGN and SPOTV, rather than having simultaneous shows. Fans were skeptical at first of the choice, and those concerns have proven to be more than valid.
On a Spring 2017 opening night that featured two matches featuring around half of the top 20 players in the world, we saw broadcast failures all around. For one, there basically wasn’t a functional English language stream, however, this was supposedly attributed to an error with the Twitch server. As a result, spectators were asked to piggyback onto the OGN_LOL Korean broadcast. However, this stream had its own lag issues as well, given that it probably wasn’t optimized for the broadcast–Korean viewers usually don’t use Twitch.
I was informed the delay earlier on global stream was due to an error with the Twitch Server. Other streams were fine.
— Nick De Cesare (@LSXYZ9) January 17, 2017
Even the marquee matchup between a KT Rolster team featuring world class talent – Smeb, Score, PawN, Deft, and Mata – and a freshly formed ROX Tigers roster attempting to rise up to its previous seasons’ success couldn’t salvage the night. SPOTV’s broadcast numbers didn’t even reach the popular levels of last season, never mind setting any records.
After an offseason of meme-killing, with releases of Sandbox mode, Solo Queue (again), and replays among other things, it looks like the community finally has another one to latch onto.
SPOTV isn’t #betterforthefans
The above hashtag was the justification from Riot Games for giving SPOTV a partial monopoly on broadcasts. Since when is a monopoly better for consumers than market competition (generally speaking)? This isn’t a natural monopoly–it’s just Riot grabbing short term cash and probably fucking over the international growth prospect for LCK in the coming years.
To be honest, I’m just sad.
This is the greatest concentration of talent we have ever had in League of Legends.
The reverse-exodus of Korean players means that the LCK is more competitive than ever. If Riot manages to make this league anything less than the greatest iteration of esports competition, I will be grossly disappointed.
So fans, don’t let it happen. Use your tweeting meme-strength. Make LCK better for the fans, better for the players, and better for the game.