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Blizzard Strikes Back at Korean eSports Association

Blizzard Entertainment and Gom-TV are signing and exclusive broadcasting agreement for Blizzard games.

StarCraft: IncGamers report on a continued twist in Blizzard’s fight against the Korean eSports Association in order to get control over their games in South Korea. Blizzard and Gom-TV signed an agreement, giving the streaming web channel exclusive rights over the handling and broadcasting of tournaments and events for Brood War, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft and related expansions.

In an open letter to Korean eSports fans, Mike Morhaime took the time to explain how they tried for years to negotiate with KeSPA in an attempt to defend intellectual property rights related to Blizzards games, hence their decision to find another partner.

“In 2007, we were shocked and disappointed to learn that KeSPA had illegally sold the broadcasting rights for Starcraft tournaments without our consent,” Morhaime’s letter reads, “we began talks with KeSPA in good faith so we could find a way to protect our intellectual property rights as well as help e-Sports to grow further. KeSPA did not recognize our intellectual property rights, and that our suggestions even up to this day, echoed unheard while KeSPA offered no solutions of their own.


The letter also explains that “the KeSPA office prevented progame teams or progamers from contacting Blizzard by threatening ‘disadvantages,’” something we reported on in the past. This resulted in Blizzard breaking off talks with KeSPA all together.

Morhaime also took the opportunity to explain Blizzard’s intentions, writing that “unlike the negative rumors you might have heard, Blizzard’s intention towards e-Sports is not to ‘dominate’ it and create excessive profits from it.”

You can read the whole letter here.

The recently signed agreement, which is taking its effects immediately, basically means that KeSPA, OnGameNet and MBCGame no longer have any right to operate nor broadcast their PL, MSL and OSL professional leagues. Blizzard, however, is letting them to continue to operate the leagues until the end of the current season, which is coming this August. Right after that, everyone interested in hosting or broadcasting any kind of eSports tournament or event relating to Blizzard games, will have to find a deal with Gom-TV.

This is going to affect the Korean (and indirectly the international) eSports scene radically, and one can only wonder about the exact consequences this is going to have in the long-term. As of right now, this seems like this is not going to turn out well for KeSPA and the broadcasting networks which formerly had near to total control over all that is professional eSports leagues and tournaments. Of course chances are high that KeSPA will try and take Blizzard and possibly Gom-TV to court.

This morning, KeSPA has stated it will release a statement through press conference, and is not ready to disclose their stance just yet. “We will release an official statement through next week’s press conference.”

With this new partnership, between Blizzard and Gretech, GomTV has the exclusive rights to any and all Blizzard game events for the next 3 years. Since KeSPA has been fighting tooth and nail to keep their profits, we’re all very curious to see how they will combat this move by Blizzard.

During the phone interview between Fomos and KeSPA President Kim Chul-Hak, Mr. Kim said “KeSPA did not release any official response regarding this situation. We will most likely hold a press conference around next Monday, and we will release our official statement at the conference. We are planning to have the press conference next Monday, and we will release more details about it on Friday, May 28th.”


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