Airline Korean Air has announced a partnership with the Korean national esports team for the Hangzhou Asian Games.
As a result of the partnership, Korean Air will create marketing activations around the Games, which will debut esports as an official meddled sport. Moreover, the airline’s logo will be displayed on the uniforms of South Korea’s esports team.
After successfully being held as a demonstration event at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, the 19th edition of the Games will feature seven esports titles, ranging from PC titles such as Dota 2 and League of Legends to mobile games like PUBG Mobile and Arena of Valor.
Hearthstone was another game that was set to be included before it was revealed earlier this year that the title would no longer be a medaled event.
Within the League of Legends scene, South Korea’s esports team selection garnered a lot of attention, largely due to the breadth of talent available in the country. The team consists of members from Gen.G and T1, two prominent organisations in South Korea and globally, as well as JD Gaming, a Chinese team that recently won this year’s MSI.
The inaugural meddled League of Legends event will also feature popular player Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok, widely known as one of the best players in the game’s history.
On social media Korean Air will launch campaigns that will give esports fans in Korea a chance to win tickets to the Games.
South Korea has been a foundational force in esports for many years, as evidenced by the creation of the Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA) in 2000.
The Hangzhou Asian Games were originally expected to take place in 2022, however, the event was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the infrequency of opportunities and notoriety of national esports competitions, it’s rare for sponsors to activate with esports national teams. However, as nations and government organisations start to recognise esports more, partnerships like this could become more prevalent.
Recently, the Italian Taekwondo Federation (FITA) officially entered esports by announcing Tekken player Daniel Madonia as its first representative.