It is with a heavy heart that the Starcraft KeSPA ProLeague will officially disband on October 18th, 2016. This comes as a shock to the community and raises questions for several pro players.
March of 2003 marked the beginning of ProLeague as an esports organization in South Korea. Events were hosted on OnGameNet and MBCGame at that time. After MBCGame closed its doors to gaming, other companies swooped in. When Starcraft 2 launched in 2010, ProLeague stuck with Brood Wars and grew its fan base. Two years would pass before they transitioned into Starcraft 2.
KeSPA: Teams and Players
KeSPA set out to open the gates of competitive play to top tier players. In several ways, the organization served as the foundation for many Korean professional players seen today.
As with many large organizations, ProLeague suffered from growing pains. Despite the fact that they gained fans through their competition, they lost sponsorship deals, were accused of match-fixing tournaments, and had several other issues. Until now, the organization ran for a total of 14 years managing 7 professional teams. Those teams are: SK Telecom T1, KT Rolster, CJ Entus, MVP, Afreeca Freecs, Samsung Galaxy, and Jin Air Green Wings. These teams included players like Innovation, soO, Zest, and Life, just to name a couple. Now, their futures are somewhat uncertain.
In a statement by KeSPA Chairman Jun ByungHun, five of the seven teams that participated in ProLeague 2016 are disbanding. We say “GG” to teams SK Telecom T1, KT Rolster, Samsung Galaxy, CJ Entus, and MVP for Starcraft 2. This leaves two teams remaining, which begs the question, what happens now?
ProLeague leaves behind a legacy that won’t ever be forgotten after many great years. There is a silver lining to the story, though! In a tweet by Kwanghee “Waxangel” Woo, Jin Air will continue to support Starcraft 2! Sadly, Afreeca Freecs is currently undecided.
Until we see what happens to the players of those teams, we can only speculate on the future. So, to appease the Starcraft appetite, Blizzcon 2016 will occur on November 4-5th. Purchase tickets click here or watch the event live on Twitch!