Korean League of Legends fans don’t seem to like the direction that the T1 franchise is heading.
Since T1 rebranded from SK Telecom T1 back in February 2019, CEO Joe Marsh has been taking the organization in a new and more commercial direction. The Korean League of Legends fans have not been impressed by this change of pace and have recently shown their frustration through social media, but now also through unexpected deliveries.
According to a picture from the South Korean forum Dcinside, two funeral flower wreaths were recently delivered to the T1 headquarters. One of the wreaths says, “Rip SKT T1, the pro-game team (2012-2019),” while the other one says “Now there only remains T1, the pseudo-entertainment agency.”
The messages on the flowers are most likely direct criticism of Joe Marsh and the T1 board as a whole. The organization has recently been more aggressive in its media appearance, by making big commercials, guesting BTS’s new variety TV show, and adding controversial streamer Tyler “Tyler1” Steinkamp to appeal to North American fans.
It has not been officially confirmed by T1 that the picture is real, but messages like these from hardcore Korean fans have been seen before. The Korean LoL fans are known to be very dedicated and to share the frustration.
In fact, Korean fans recently issued a statement condemning T1.
Fans expressed frustration with T1 management, including making players shoot advertisements instead of focusing on practices during the LCK playoff and regional qualifier. Fans also didn’t like T1’s new coaches, which they feel are not qualified.
Some fans even noted that T1 doesn’t protect their players adequately from toxic chat rooms on Twitch. They also were disappointed when T1 parked their sponsored BMW in a handicapped parking spot, “which is illegal.” They are still waiting for an explanation.
Korean viewers are currently hoping T1 will set a goal for the World Championship and work on that rather than continue filming and hiring underqualified coaches.
Even though the T1 brand is growing globally, the most dedicated LoL fans seem to be against the approach and want the organization to focus more on the game. T1 is the LoL team with the biggest legacy in the world, winning a total of three Worlds trophies before rebranding.
This year, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and the rest of the T1 squad didn’t manage to qualify for 2020 World Championship, even though they won the 2020 LCK Spring Split. Fans were disappointed that the team wouldn’t represent Korea in Shanghai and the disappointment seems to continue until T1 proves the fans wrong on Summoner’s Rift.
The outrage from fans puts extra pressure on T1 to perform in the 2021 season, but it won’t be easy to satisfy the fanbase. Rumors of Nick “LS” Cesare and Choi “Polt” Seong-hun joining the coaching staff has not made it easier for the organization, as many fans also seem to be against that move. While it’s not official yet, there will be a lot of pressure on the coaching staff’s shoulders LS and Polt joins the team.
It seems like the team is bound to disappoint the furious fans at the moment unless they pull off something incredible in the 2021 League of Legends season.