League of Legends caster Max “Atlus” Anderson confirmed that there won’t be an English broadcast of the 2019 KeSPA Cup earlier today. He also said that restreaming the event from home isn’t allowed, which means there won’t be any English coverage at all.
“Super disappointing to hear that KeSPA and Riot Korea have decided that the 2019 KeSPA Cup will have no English broadcast,” 100 Thieves general manager and former LCK commentator Chris “PapaSmithy” Smith said. “The viewership numbers for last year’s KeSPA Cup were massive—the global fans who have supported Korean League of Legends deserve MUCH better.”
The KeSPA Cup is a Korean-based tournament that’s been hosted since 2015. It’ll feature all 10 LCK teams, while also bringing in eight teams from Challengers Korea and its promotional qualifiers.
Last year, the KeSPA Cup was broadcast in English for many excited LCK fans. This tournament was the first chance for people to see the newest LCK rosters in action, especially after a busy 2018 offseason. This year could have been more of the same since so many big-name players changed teams, but now English-speaking viewers won’t get the same experience.
“[The] LCK literally has to do nothing to keep its grip on the Western audience,” ESPN reporter Tyler “FionnonFire” Erzberger said. “[The] LPL is the better league, but Western fans still follow the LCK and its teams like they’re the top dogs. What a slap in the face.”
There are a few people who still want an English broadcast, however. T1 CEO Joe Marsh, for example, said that both his team and Gen.G agreed to share the cost of English casters for the KeSPA Cup if it meant the broadcast was allowed once more.
The 2019 KeSPA Cup begins on Monday, Dec. 23.