The Korean esports franchise league, LCK, stands out as a powerhouse in the League of Legends scene, boasting an extensive fan base and drawing significant attention from sponsors. In contrast to the LEC, LCK effectively utilizes its broad viewership to attract a plethora of new sponsors, with non-endemic sponsors taking the spotlight.
Sponsorship Landscape in LCK:
Non-endemic sponsors, such as Woori Bank in LCK and KIA and KitKat in LEC, dominate the sponsorship landscape in both leagues. Common technical sponsors, including LG UltraGear, Logitech G, and Secretlab, are present in both LCK and LEC. Red Bull has recently joined this list as well.LCK frequently sees sponsorships from the Food/Food Chains category, with collaborations with McDonald's in 2021 and the BBQ Chicken chain in 2022-2023. In 2024, Pulmuone, a plant-based product company, became an LCK partner.
Unique Features of LCK:
One distinctive feature of LCK is the rare collaboration with competing brands in the same industry. Additionally, sponsors often start as playoff stage sponsors but transition to become permanent partners in the following season.The number of sponsors in LCK continues to grow each year, with the league expanding its partner list by attracting companies from new categories. New non-endemic sponsors, such as JW Pharmaceutical Corporation and Hanwha Life, have recently joined the league.
Differences in Broadcasts Between LCK and LEC:
LCK places a significant emphasis on its main sponsor, Woori Bank, with its logo prevalent throughout the broadcasts. In contrast, LEC features several 'equal' sponsors with constantly rotating advertisements during broadcasts.Viewers perceive LCK broadcasts as less advertised, with sponsors primarily showcased before and at the beginning of matches. Technical sponsor banners are shown on-air only once, and they have minimal branding on the map. In contrast, LEC displays sponsor banners consistently throughout matches, and the entire map is adorned with logos.
Unique Advertising Integrations in LCK:
LCK employs unique advertising integration techniques, including brief introductions of team sponsors displayed on special banners before matches. The league also features extensive entertainment and informational content during breaks, providing more opportunities for advertising personal sponsors.Special attention is given to fans in LCK broadcasts, with commentators discussing messages on fan posters that often display league sponsors' logos. Attendees are provided with branded fan paraphernalia, such as inflatable clappers, creating additional avenues for advertising integration.
When comparing LCK and LEC advertising integrations, it's crucial to consider the geographical peculiarities of these leagues. LCK collaborates with local sponsors within South Korea, while LEC seeks international partners for its broader European coverage. Despite these differences, both leagues employ similar advertising methods.