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Thousands show up to watch LoL championships

Reporter: May Lee 丨 CCTV.com

10-31-2016 10:28 BJT

This year's most eagerly anticipated e-sports event, the Fourth League of Legends World Championships, was held in Los Angeles on Saturday evening.  And the legendary team of SKT from South Korea won its third world title.

It's a mass annual pilgrimage to see their favorite teams compete in a climactic contest.

It's the fourth League of Legends World Championships, a wildly popular video game that's played by a hundred million people monthly -- a majority of them are in Asia. So it's no surprise the finalists are both South Korean teams. Underdog Samsung Galaxy and two-time world champion, SK Telecom.

Fans who've come from near and far, some in full costume, are unabashed about their obsession for the game. 

Fans said, "I've missed it the last 3 years so I flew from Germany to see this."

"There's just a certain amount of camaraderie where you get this many geeks coming together cheering for different teams."

"The fact that they're doing this all across the United States and all across the world really and getting esports to a larger audience, it's truly amazing." 

And to this sold out crowd at LA's Staples Center, watching these professional esports athletes with online aliases like "Faker" and "Ambition" virtually duke it out, is the ultimate experience. 

Last year, more than 334 million viewers tuned in online over the four week period of the word championships. The finals drew in 36 million. That's more than tuned in for the Stanley Cup Final, the World Series, and the NBA finals combined. 

Riot Games, creator of League of Legends, was fully bought out by China's Tencent in 2015 after gaining majority control in 2011. That investment will likely pay off handsomely given the Esports industry outlook. By 2019, revenue is expected to smash a billion dollars. 

And speaking of smashing, after a grueling 5 game, 6 and a half hour tournament, SKT won their third championship in four years.

SKT will take home a chunk of the $5 million prize pool, half of it donated by fans. Not a bad payday for a team whose average age is 20 years old. 

"This series was really the hardest we've ever had to compete in and we were exhausted, but we were able to overcome the challenges and win," said Lee "Faker" Sang-Hyeok, SK Telecom.

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