The Korean e-Sports Association (KeSPA) announced yesterday that it will close down the StarCraft ProLeague, the world’s first pro esports team league, which ran for 14 seasons.
Sadly this has also seen five of the seven teams (SK Telecom T1, KT Rolster, Samsung Galaxy, CJ Entus and MVP) that participated in this year’s ProLeague also shutter down their StarCraft 2 rosters.
As ESPN reported according to Christopher ‘MonteCristo’ Mykles only Jin Air and Afreeca will continue with the title.
In a statement posted on the KeSPA site, gave the reasons for the decision to terminate the longest running team league. Byung-hun said: “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.”
The lengthy statement was tinged with regret and continued: “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.”
Byung-hun also iterated that this doesn’t mean the end of StarCraft as a competitive force but surely with the loss of this competition; it’ll be a long and tough road ahead.
Esports Insider: This is a sad day for esports and a tragic one for StarCraft. Fourteen years of a competitive league is a lifetime in the young industry, but as the organisation’s chairman admitted a drop in popularity and match fixing problems amongst other issues meant it could not continue.