Back To Top
Sports

[Herald Interview] Rookie LCK announcers reflect on their first season

 
LCK announcers Youn Soo-bin (left) and Lee Jeong-hyun (Courtesy of Lee Jeong-hyun)
LCK announcers Youn Soo-bin (left) and Lee Jeong-hyun (Courtesy of Lee Jeong-hyun)

In the European League of Legends scene, there is an iconic esports host named Sjokz who has conducted LoL European Championships player interviews for several years. In the LoL Pro League in China, her equivalent is Candice. In the LCK, however, no esports announcer has managed to stay with the league for multiple years, as many move on after gaining popularity or quit for various reasons. While LCK fans supported the announcers as they moved on to bigger things, it always left a bittersweet feeling as they repeatedly witnessed new announcers adjusting to the system.

Youn Soo-bin and Lee Jeong-hyun, who joined the LCK this summer as esports announcers, hope to change that. They want to stick with the LCK until the very end. 

As the two finish their first season in the LCK, they shared their thoughts on the season and on their careers as esports announcers with The Korea Herald at LoL Park in Jongno, Seoul, Oct. 27.

“My dream is to become the longest-serving announcer for the LCK. I think in order for that to happen, I need to become more professional and expand my role here, just like Sjokz in the LEC,” said Youn.

“I told the producers when I interviewed for this job that I will return to the LCK even if I have a baby and will stay here until the very end,” said Lee.

For those unfamiliar with the role of an LCK announcer, LCK announcers conduct player interviews after the games and host the intergame analysis show. They also appear in many LCK productions on the league’s YouTube channel.

“Our role is to make the broadcast more interesting. We are the bridge connecting the viewers and the players,” said Youn.
LCK announcers Youn Soo-bin (left) and Lee Jeong-hyun (Courtesy of Lee Jeong-hyun)
LCK announcers Youn Soo-bin (left) and Lee Jeong-hyun (Courtesy of Lee Jeong-hyun)

While many consider knowledge of the game to be of prime importance for an esports announcer, to Youn and Lee their identities as announcers felt more important.

“Many people who ask me about a career as an esports announcer usually have great interest in the games. But more and more, I think reacting to unforeseen events and ability to fill the silence, because all broadcast is live, are more important,” said Youn.

Lee, who worked as a sports announcer for various sports, including soccer and baseball, mentioned that conditions for esports announcers are unparalleled in the industry.

“In sports, broadcast stations need to show commercials to make profit. As a result, I was always pressured with time and could only ask five or six questions no matter how important the player. In the LCK, I can ask 12 questions and I am able to have lengthy conversations with the players,” said Lee. “I was also given an identification card for entrance to the building on my first day here, which never happened in my previous workplace.”

For the first time, Riot Games picked two announcers simultaneously this summer, making the two rotate every other day during the season. The two felt relieved that they had someone to rely on, and they consider themselves teammates rather than rivals.

As the announcers get made up before each shooting and games often go on well past midnight three to four days a week during the season, the rotation also puts less physical stress on the announcers. Youn, who works as a weathercaster for OBS in the mornings, appreciates the rotation system even more.

LCK announcers have long been popular with gaming fans, although the two have yet to fully experience their popularity as the games have been held with no audience due to COVID-19.
LCK announcers Youn Soo-bin (left) and Lee Jeong-hyun (Courtesy of Lee Jeong-hyun)
LCK announcers Youn Soo-bin (left) and Lee Jeong-hyun (Courtesy of Lee Jeong-hyun)

Heading to next season, Youn and Lee wish to change the perception of LCK announcers in the gaming community, which until now has focused on their looks and dismissed their understanding of the game.

“I hope people can see us as people with expertise. I think it’s natural that we get these reactions because we are still beginners. Right now, many reactions are, ‘Ah you’re so pretty, nuna,’ or ‘I’m surprised she knows this,’ but it should be natural that a member of any industry has expertise,” said Lee.

To make that happen, the two strive for a better understanding of the game, taking notes and reviewing broadcasts as well as playing the game in their free time. Currently unranked, the two hope to achieve the platinum ranking in the future, which is roughly the top 20 percent.

Looking back on the summer season, the two saw it as a period of growth.

“I feel I could have done better. I was too tense because I didn’t want to mess up and ended up being unable to say what I wanted,” said Youn. “I was more relaxed toward the end of the season and was able to ad-lib more and tell light jokes.”

“It’s like learning a new language. I can talk about things that I had no idea of in May. I try to use more gaming terms now and enjoy people praising me for it,” said Lee. “I feel like we gained time, because of COVID-19, to prepare and adjust. Now, I want the virus to go away and to show what I have prepared.”

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
MOST POPULAR