SK Telecom establishes e-sports joint venture with American media group Comcast

12, Oct. 2019

SEOUL, AJU – South Korea's top mobile carrier, SK Telecom, has established a joint venture with two American companies including Comcast, a media entertainment group, to find new business models in the global market for e-sports, which is gaining popularity among young people.

SK Telecom (SKT) said on Friday that the company controls 55 percent of the joint venture called SK Telecom CS T1 Co. without disclosing the amount of money to be invested. The remainder was owned by Comcast and Highland Capital Management, a Dallas-based alternative investment management firm, which became the second and third largest shareholder by investing $41 million together.

SKT said the joint venture, headquartered in Seoul, is the first case of collaboration between a leading communications company and a global media company. SKT and Comcast forged a strategic partnership in February.

The joint venture will utilize SKT's over-the-top video-on-demand platform and 5G mobile communication network as well as Comcast's media production capability to develop e-sports business models and operate professional e-sports teams based in Asian leagues. The “West” office of the joint venture was set up in Los Angeles to operate professional teams active in the North American region.

SKT, which runs three professional e-sports teams under SK Telecom T1, is active in games such as League of Legends, PUBG, and Hearthstone. The company plans to increase the number of teams to seven. SK Telecom T1 includes Lee Sang-hyeok, who is a top player in the League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle arena video game.

SKT and Comcast will cooperate in broadcasting content and the global e-sports market, said Choi Jong-bok, an SKT PR team manager. “We will produce a variety of content using our professional gaming teams through YouTube and other media platforms and we are working on an additional business model using them.”

SKT would sell items related to professional teams. “We plan to introduce contents and products in various countries by utilizing our T1 brand and intellectual property rights of high value while promoting new businesses in e-sports such as sponsorships, advertising and broadcasting rights.”