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SK Telecom helps T1 win LoL World Championship via sponsorship

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Lee Sang-hyeok, left, a popular professional esports gamer better known by the alias Faker, poses with a trophy after his team T1 defeated China's Weibo Gaming during the final of the League of Legends World Championship at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Sunday. With the win, T1 clinched their fourth championship victory. Courtesy of Riot Games Esports

By Baek Byung-yeul

T1, arguably the most dominant esports team in Korea, won their fourth title of Riot Games' popular esports match League of Legends (LoL) World Championship against China's Weibo Gaming, held in Seoul's Gocheok Sky Dome, Sunday.

T1's success in becoming the first team to win the championship four times in the LoL esports tournament, which features the best teams in the world, was due in part to SK Telecom, their main sponsor, which provided strong support.

SK Telecom founded its esports team SKT T1 in 2004. In 2012 when LoL began to gain worldwide popularity, they formed a new LoL esports team. Lee Sang-hyeok, better known by the alias Faker, started his esports career with SKT T1 and the following year in 2013, they won the first LoL World Championship.

The League of Legends World Championship final between T1 and Weibo Gaming is underway at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Sunday. Courtesy of Riot Games Esports

Since then the team won the championship in 2015 and 2016, becoming the first team to win two consecutive world championships and three in total.

The company also has contributed to the growth of T1 and the Korean esports scene through a variety of supports. For example, they introduced a junior system in Korea for the first time to expand the base for esports.

In addition to operating the team, SK Telecom chaired the Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA) for eight years from 2005, hosting various tournaments and contributing to the development of esports in Korea.

In 2019, T1 became a global esports company by attracting large-scale investment from U.S.-based media and entertainment group Comcast. After spinning off from SK Telecom in 2021, T1 is now a part of SK Square.

Fans watch the League of Legends World Championship final between Korea's T1 and China's Weibo Gaming on screens at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, Sunday. Courtesy of Riot Games Esports

Even after separating from T1, SK Telecom has continued to support T1 as its main sponsor, as well as continuing its esports sponsorship.

Based on this, T1 was able to win gold during the LoL tournament at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou in September. At the time, Korea's six-member LoL team included three T1 members.

To commemorate their fourth championship, SK Telecom will launch a promotion to give various presents to 5,234 SK Telecom customers through a lottery. The first-prize winner will receive a travel voucher to the United States and the headquarters of Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends.

SK Telecom said it will continue to work on supporting the esports scene and creating synergy with the fast-changing ICT industry.

"We plan to make various attempts to promote and spread esports, such as the popularization of VR and AR games that can be the next generation of esports," said Kim Hee-sup, head of communications at SK Telecom. "We will not spare any ongoing interest and support for the future development potential of esports."

Baek Byung-yeul


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