Jess Colwill, October 19, 2016

KeSPA Shuts Down StarCraft ProLeague

The Korean eSports Association (KeSPA) have announced the discontinuation of the world’s longest-running eSports league, the StarCraft ProLeague, and the shuttering of five of the seven participating teams—SK Telecom T1, KT Rolster, CJ Entus, MVP, and Samsung Galaxy.

KeSPA’s chairman Jun ByungHun issued an emotional statement regarding the closure, stating ProLeague “paved the way for many top-tier StarCraft players and served as the bedrock behind Korean pro players becoming the world’s greatest.”

“However, behind the excitement, it also had its share of hurdles that we as its organizers had to overcome,” he continued. “We had faced challenges that hindered ProLeague’s operations including the acute drop in global eSports sponsorships in 2008 caused by the global financial crisis, the first case of esports match-fixing, and declining number of teams.

“The drop in the number of ProLeague teams and players, difficulty securing league sponsors, and match fixing issues have made it challenging to maintain ProLeague. As such, KeSPA has come to announce the discontinuation of ProLeague and its operations of the five out of total seven StarCraft professional teams that participated in ProLeague 2016.

“The decision to put the past 14 years behind us and discontinue ProLeague was a difficult one and it deeply saddens me to have to also bring you the news that KeSPA will be stopping its operations of ProLeague teams.”

The announcement comes less than two weeks before the WCS Playoffs at Blizzcon and leaves some of the top-tier players without a team. ByungHun added that KeSPA would work with their partners to support players competing at Blizzcon.

Jess Colwill

Jess is a writer and dog-lover from the eastern coast of Australia, who loves playing games (particularly anything by BioWare), listening to metal, baking, and fostering rescue dogs while they wait for new homes. You can find her on Twitter at @notsocryptic.