Over the last decade esports have grown dramatically. However, more and more industry figures are warning about a possible explosion in the industry. For example, a part of the League of Legends community has expressed concern about the new schedule and the economic state of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS). On the other hand, in Europe players like Martin Larsson «Rekkles» They are scared by the economic inflation promoted by some clubs.
These doubts, existing both in League of Legends and in the rest of esports, have reached the eastern scene. Gen.G CEO Arnold Hur has revealed via a Reddit AMA his concerns about what he calls “esports winter.” Given the economic development of the League of Legends Championship Korea (LCK), Hur has been blunt: «I am extremely worried. I’ve been saying that esports winter was coming but I never thought it would be this cold. Now I have changed my thinking and I think 30% of esports teams will not survive in the next two years«.
Regarding the LCK, the CEO of Gen.G has highlighted the inflation mentioned by figures like Rekkles in other regions. «This year the average cost of a player has surpassed even those of the LPL/LCS, especially in the case of players top tier. Every year we have been first or second in sponsorships and even then it is not enough to cover the cost of the players“, he stated. For Hur the reason is clear: before the cuts in marketing of the big brands. In his opinion, the sponsorships that run the risk of ending are those of esports, which for many companies represent the most “experimental.”
This last aspect is important to Hur. For him, it depends on whether the clubs will survive or not: “Leagues that depend on sponsorships or the media will not survive what I think will be the future of esports.” «If developers can’t find a profitable way to create digital revenue opportunities (for example, skins) for leagues or teams, esports will be nothing more than an unprofitable marketing cost center for the game“, has signed the CEO of Gen.G.
However, Hur is optimistic about this situation due to awareness within the sector. «For the first time in my history in esports there is a very strong belief from top to bottom that the esports economic model of ‘we’ll figure it out later’ doesn’t work“, explained the CEO of Gen.G. During 2022 electronic sports have grown again in terms of audiences. However, the largest amounts of millions of hours watched continue to belong to content creators.