Gen.G CEO offers grim prediction on esports future: “I fear the worst”

Declan Mclaughlin
Gen.G Esports CEO Arnold Hur

In an Ask Me Anything on the League of Legends subreddit, Gen.G CEO, Arnold Hur, was asked about his confidence in the League of Legends esports leagues in North America and South Korea financially and said he is “extremely concerned.”

Hur, who was promoted to CEO of Gen.G in 2021 and has worked for the organization since 2017, is a veteran of the esports industry. In the Reddit AMA, he was asked for his thoughts on whether the League of Legends Champions Korea league will have the same fate as the League Championship Series in terms of financial concerns and how he feels about sponsors leaving the Korean league.

Hur answered with a grim prediction for the esports space, revealing that the average cost for the top players in the LCK are increasing every year and sponsorship money does not come close to covering their salaries.

“I’ve been saying the esports winter is coming but even I didn’t think it would be this cold. Now I’ve changed my forecast and think 30%+ of esports teams worldwide won’t make it the next 2 years,” Hur said.

Gen.G CEO explains why the esports winter will decimate orgs

Hur further explained that he thinks leagues that rely on media and brand sponsorships won’t survive and publishers finding other ways to create revenue for their events and teams is key. Hur also pointed to the world’s current financial woes as more brands are cutting costs and turning away from marketing.

“In an environment where every major consumer brand is cutting marketing costs, experimental esports marketing sponsorships are at risk of being the first to be cut. If the publisher, the LCK, teams, players don’t take the risks now to fix the model, I fear the worst,” the Gen.G CEO said.

The executive did share some hopeful thoughts, however, saying that everyone involved in esports understands the current business model doesn’t work for teams or leagues and they should figure out a way for everyone to profit.

“Most of our fans understand that everyone needs to embrace the sports ENTERTAINMENT side and find new commercial opportunities if we are going to stay relevant vs bigger regions,” Hur said.

For some organizations, the esports winter is already here. eUnited, an esports organization established in 2016, is reportedly dead in the water with its CEO as the only employee.