E-sports has been around since the 1960s; however, the Korean government decided to build a national broadband network in the late 90s that eventually led to the rise of online games and LAN cafes. Players were able to have access to other players across the globe, which essentially increased everyones’ skills level as well.
The Korean E-sports Association was created in 2000 as an arm of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. It manages 25 of the country’s main e-sports games: Starcraft II, League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. The organization has worked towards making it a legitimate sport. They were able to introduce a minimum salary for professional players and a mandatory one-year contract for all new team members.
The professional e-sports players are considered celebrities since the sport itself is so popular and widely viewed. At the 2014 League of Legends championship, more than 40,000 fans came to watch. Part of the reason why it is so widely viewed in South Korea is because it is a enjoyable pass time across all generations.