KOI, Ibai and Gerard Piqué’s esports organization, announced themselves to the world with a live League of Legends event on Twitch that drew hundreds of thousands of viewers.
On December 16, streamer Ibai Llanos and professional footballer Gerard Piqué gave the world its first glimpse of their League of Legends team KOI in a showmatch at the Palau San Jordi in Barcelona, where they took down the LFL’s Karmine Corp 2-1.
The popularity of Europe’s regional leagues has grown massively in recent years, and they’re even starting to overtake major regions in viewership. The best-of-three showmatch peaked at 477,000 viewers on Twitch, according to statistics website Esports Charts, putting it above the 2021 LCS Summer finals between TSM and Team Liquid, which had a peak viewership of 364,328 people.
Compared to LEC Summer 2021, the showmatch only failed to beat the viewership numbers of the playoff match between G2 and Fnatic (843,491) and the grand final, between Fnatic and MAD Lions (729,308).
The series also marked the debut of veteran European AD Carry Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larssen on KCorp. One of Europe’s longest-standing players, he joined KCorp off the back of an unsuccessful split with G2 Esports in which the organization failed to secure a spot at the World Championships for the first time since 2016.
KCorp has long been one of the most popular teams within Europe’s regional circuit, but it looks as though KOI will be giving them a run for their money. Within only an hour of the creation of their official Twitter account, they had already gained 214,000 followers – a higher follower count than multiple LEC teams.
The future of European League of Legends?
The org’s popularity is no doubt tied to that of its founders. Ibai is one of the biggest and most successful streamers in the world in the world, with 8.6 million followers on Twitch alone.
Previously a shoutcaster for the Spanish regional league, he joined G2 as a content creator early in 2020 before going independent at the start of 2021. His business partner, Gerard Piqué, has been a professional footballer since 2004.
With the incredible viewership this event was able to pull in, many fans and community figures have been asking when these organizations will enter the LEC.
Reports earlier this year suggested that the LEC is looking to expand its franchising model to include 12 teams, so that moment could be coming sooner rather than later.
KOI will also be looking to carry their momentum over into other esports titles, with the org announcing that they will be expanding into Valorant in the near future.