I was blessed with the ability to travel to Seoul for vacation and of course, I had to go to a couple LCK games.
Before this, my only experience with live competitive League matches was at 2016 Worlds semifinals in New York City and finals in Los Angeles. Granted, that’s a way bigger competition, but I was also there as press to work. This time, I was going to a match as a fan!
I attended two matches: bbq vs. ROX at the SPOTV studio and MVP vs. SKT at the OGN studio.
The best thing happened before the bbq/ROX match: I dropped by a coffee shop before the game because I was extremely early and was blessed with the opportunity to meet a bunch of players. Nobody in the cafe cared or knew who they were but I nervously asked for photos and they happily obliged.
The bbq/ROX game was almost empty. The location was in a great place in Gangnam and the studio was pretty cool. Tickets were far from sold out at the stadium, but bbq and ROX were both fighting to avoid the last place spot that day, so nobody probably particularly cared about these teams.
The MVP/SKT game was in Sangam at the OGN studio and while this studio was way cooler than the spotv studio, it was in the middle of nowhere. There weren’t any neat shops or anything nearby so there wasn’t really anything to do in the area (Sangam) before the match, but that was whatever - I was going out to see the best League of Legends player(s) of all time and I was so hype.
The hype-level at the matches was...alright. Both matches were far from sold out (though the SKT game had way more fans, as expected.) It was just cool to see the teams I can’t usually see, I think.
The girls at the matches were my favorite part. They came out to support their teams and they were passionate about it. You could see them waving lightsticks and fans with the team logos on it in support.
When the game started, the fans even chanted a special chant. The blue side goes first and it essentially was one girl leading the reigns and saying, “(Team name)! One, two, three!” while everyone on the blue side yells, “(Team name)! Fighting!” The red side then reciprocates.
After the MVP/SKT game is what shocked me the most. In the lobby of the building that the OGN stadium is in, fans (mostly female) were in organized lines and they just...organized themselves. There was no official or anything telling them to go anywhere.
They were all there, lined up in order of the position of the player they wanted to meet. (The first line was for Park “Untara” Ui-jin, the second for Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, the third for Han “Peanut” Wang-ho and so forth.) The girls mostly came with gifts and cards and they all looked super cute in their best outfits and fixing their make-up while they waited.
After a long time, SKT finally came out, stood in their respective positions in line, bowed and began to greet fans one by one. They took selfies, chatted with familiar faces - it was awesome.
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to get into Peanut’s or Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s line, as they almost wrapped around the lobby, but I did visit Untara, Huni and Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan. They were all super nice, unsurprisingly. (Those three also had the shortest line. Heo’s line was about a fourth the size of Han’s.)
I don’t know if this is normal. I’ve been told that SKT only comes out when they win - MVP, regardless of their loss, did a smaller meet-and-greet outside the building where they talked to their handful of fans.
I also know that meet-and-greets are common in North America and Europe, but I was just... shocked with the level of self-organization the fans had. Stuff like that does not work in America - let’s be honest.
It was fun and I would 100 percent do it again. (The person I went with actually wanted to go to more games the following week, but we didn’t have the time in our schedule!)
If you have the means to go, then go. It’s cheap and it’s not hard to get to.