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Final Blow: GomTV Secures Exclusive Rights in Korea

After a long (and occasionally controversial) series of events, announcements and actions, this chapter of Blizzard’s Korean eSports saga appears to have reached a conclusion: GomTV is coming out on top with all other Korean eSports organizations receiving a sort of a grace period to adjust to the new reality until August 2010, the end of the current pro-gaming season.

According to multiple sources, most importantly TL’s detailed translation of the Korean news pieces, GomTV will have exclusive rights to operate and broadcast all Blizzard games in Korea. On the flip side, all other current operators, many of which have been managing leagues and TV broadcasts for almost a decade – such as KeSPA(Korean eSports Player Association), OnGameNet and MBCGame (Korean television channels) – are no longer authorized to handle Blizzard titles.

Mike Morhaim

Mike Morhaime, Blizzard’s CEO, has commented on the Korean situation multiple times in the past. Mike has now released an open letter to the Korean eSports community, explaining the reasoning behind the partnership, as well as its terms and meaning to the community. Here are some highlights from the letter:

In 2007, we were shocked and disappointed to learn that KeSPA had illegally sold the broadcasting rights for Starcraft tournaments without our consent. With this clear violation of our intellectual property rights, we were forced to become more actively involved in the situation and make our voice be heard. Even so, 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.

2007 also happens to be the year that StarCraft 2 was announced in. Selling broadcasting rights to a game KeSPA doesn’t own obviously angered some people over at Blizzard.

For the following three years, we tried very hard to have negotiations where we could correct a skewed situation and reach mutual understanding. However, during this process, what we learned was that 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.

This three year period, which we have recently covered, had only one predictable outcome, and it comes as no surprise to fans who have followed Blizzard’s very consistent line of statements.

With the release of “Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty” approaching, we decided we could not delay any further in finding a trustworthy partner who respected our intellectual property rights, and decided it was time to find a new way altogether.

Our best wishes and congratulations go to GomTV for securing such a valuable and exclusive partnership. Hopefully, it will keep eSports clean, increase its popularity and broadcast it free for fans to enjoy worldwide.

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12 Comments to “Final Blow: GomTV Secures Exclusive Rights in Korea”

  1. james — May 30, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

    Blizzard is full of crap.

    SC became famous without their involvement, then Blizzard wanted to jump in like a birth parent to a suddenly rich forgotten child.

    Kespa wasn’t selling broadcasting rights to SC games. They were selling broadcasting rights to kespa’s tournaments. The game they played was SC, but the league was kespa’s. Do you guys watch non-kespa SC tournaments regularly? I’m guessing no. We’re watching Jaedoing and Flash, who play for Kespa’s tournaments. we’re not watching random people play SC.

  2. Anonymous — May 30, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    i hope they dont push back starcraft 2. i swear they can never keep things on schedule

  3. Karl — May 30, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

    Good point James, never thought of it like that. Who’s to say Blizzard will do a good job managing esports anyway?

    We all forget the basic fact, however, that Blizzard is a company to earn money – so far they’ve done that really well.

  4. martix — May 31, 2010 @ 4:16 am

    It’s business. Blizzard is a company, it’s in it for the money and wants a piece of the pie. Law is on their side in this case.
    So yea, James is right. It’s a corporate, capitalist world out there, no way around it.

  5. Chef — May 31, 2010 @ 5:24 am

    Does this mean no more MSL, OSL, or proleague…. ever?

  6. Arthur Santana — May 31, 2010 @ 5:52 am

    Blizzard’s point is quite bogus: it’s about the right of the matches, not the game itself.

    But anyway, I don’t like Kespa, so that’s good news =P.

  7. Targe — May 31, 2010 @ 8:01 am

    “SC became famous without their involvement”

    They made the game. KeSPA sucked ass and they deserved it.

  8. Joe Donnellan — June 2, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

    Having only heard stories of how big Starcraft became in Korea, I can only say they (KeSPA and others) must have been doing something right when it comes to promoting eSports.

    While this move has surely ruffled a lot of feathers, I don’t see it as a terribly bad thing IF Blizzard sets up a solid foundation to replace the old one. It’s understandable that KeSPA was not all for these changes since it meant losing profits, but it seems like they would be in a better position than they are now if they had come to an agreement with Blizzard.

  9. Anonymous — June 14, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

    James is wrong. I would say he is also full of crap.

    OSL and MSL were not Kespa leagues. What Kespa did was declare that they hand over their rights to them, for the sake of eSports.

    Before Blizzard started getting on everyone’s nerves with BNET 2.0. KESPA was always the bad guy. Everyone who followed eSports knew KESPA was wrecking eSports left and right, with their denial of attempts to expand the eSport tournaments, and tight rules that made no sense and only served to punish the players and consumers. (Like a Ubisoft DRM would).

    Don’t think for a second KESPA is a great thing that needs to keep eSports alive. It’s needed a better replacement due long ago.

  10. Anonymous — June 15, 2010 @ 9:55 am

    whoa whoa whoa, without blizzard there would be no starcraft. It’s their game and they have every right to intervene. And the esports community had been around for over 7 years before they say anything and all of a sudden they are butting in? my friend YOU are full of crap

  11. Anonymous — August 2, 2010 @ 9:57 am

    Yeah, I’m sure SC would’ve been equally famous as it is now without Blizzard actually making the game…

  12. Arianna — March 5, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

    As soon as I discovered this website I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

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