Meet Esports Insiders #3: LCK PR Associate, Ji-hee Han
As the popularity of esports increases every day, more and more people are interested in a career in esports. However, finding a job in esports can be very difficult as many get confused about where they should start and how they should prepare. The need for people with diverse talents increases as the industry continues to grow, but knowing how to get into the industry is really difficult.
For those considering a future career in esports, at Inven we have prepared a series of interviews with people in the scene, essentially introducing the different jobs in esports. From how they found their jobs, to what they needed to prepare to get those jobs, to the details of their jobs, we got to hear their stories from their past and present. We hope this series of interviews helps those looking for a potential career in esports.
Meet Ji-hee Han, our third interviewee from “Meet the esports insiders”. She works as a PR associate for the LCK, which also has a side job. [?] as a cosplayer! His main responsibility is to make sure everything related to LoL Esports media, and we at Inven Global have had the opportunity to talk to him about his journey in the LCK.
Thank you for introducing yourself to our readers.
Hello, my name is Ji-hee Han and I am the PR associate of Prain Global Sportizen, the PR company of LCK and Riot Games Esports.
When did you start getting interested in esports? Can you also tell us what your background was until you got this job?
To be honest, it hasn’t been long since I became interested in esports. It was purely a coincidence on how I first discovered esports. In 2019, my friends and I were on vacation, and they wanted to watch the series of a team that they really liked. It was the SKT T1 [now known as T1] vs G2 Esports series at Worlds 2019, where SKT unfortunately lost. Although I started playing League of Legends in 2015, this series was my first time watching LoL sports.
Obviously I knew Faker because he’s really famous but after that show I got really into SKT so I started watching the LCK in 2020. 2019 was also around the time I graduated from college and was considering career paths. I was actually planning on becoming a journalist, but I thought, “Hey, I love League of Legends, and I’m loving esports more and more, so maybe there’s something thing for me in esports.”
At the time, I didn’t know how much variety there was in esports, so I started as a gaming journalist. I started in July 2020, and after a three-month internship at a publication, I figured this wasn’t the job for me. I wanted to work exclusively with League of Legends, but as a games journalist, I needed to know games across a broad spectrum. Even now I feel like I lack that knowledge, and since my interest was only in LoL, writing about other games was difficult and uninteresting.
When I quit this job in this post, my boss told me to look for a job exclusively in LoL because they thought it would suit me better and eventually it would work out. So I looked further into LoL Esports, and that’s when I realized working in esports rather than gaming would be better for me.
That’s when I applied to a whole bunch of places, even for teams like T1. At the beginning of 2021, I found a job offer at Sportizen, a company that was on the list of ‘LCK Master Agency’, so I felt I could work in the LCK with them, and I worked with them ever since.
What are your responsibilities as a public relations associate for the LCK?
In general, we work with all journalists who cover Riot Games Esports titles, namely League of Legends, Valorant, Wild Rift and sometimes Teamfight Tactics. My main responsibility includes writing press releases for various publications and arranging interviews for journalists. When it comes to international tournaments like the upcoming MSI, my team is the Korean PR contact.
Speaking from my experience last year, reporters covered online events due to COVID, but there were still offline events. My team was in charge of events such as the media monitoring of such events, which included everything that needed to be done on the ground to create press kits for all the journalists who came.
What does your day look like in season and out of season?
My biggest responsibility during the season is to be in the field and help with coverage. During LCK splits, my team also sits in the press room to monitor if everything is going well for the journalists. We are also in charge of the press releases that always go out and important announcements that need to be made. This involves working in conjunction with other divisions of the business, such as our social, events and marketing team. For example, we sync with the social team for the visuals that we are going to use in our press releases.
To be honest, there really isn’t an off-season for me. For our social team, because they are strictly in charge of the LCK, they have an off season, but for us, because we are also in charge of Valorant and Wild Rift esports, other leagues start when the LCK enters in its off-season. After the LCK Spring Finals in 2021, the Valorant Challengers circuit started, then MSI, then went straight to Valorant Champions + Masters. Between all that, there was WCK [Wild Rift Champions Korea].
As long as there are reporters covering these leagues, the work continues. There isn’t really an off-season for me.
Actually, I first got to know you through your Twitter, which is more for your cosplays. Tell me a bit about how you got into cosplay and what kind of influence cosplay has had on your journey into esports as well.
[Laughter] I started cosplaying because of my sister. As I said before, I started playing League of Legends in 2015, and the first time I started cosplaying was in 2018. My sister came to see me and said, “Hey, I’m entering my senior year in high school, so I want to do something fun and cosplay at a comedy convention!” My sister has always been into this subculture, and even though I wasn’t against it, I wasn’t really into it at first.
However, I had so much fun cosplaying that day at that convention. I also met a lot of cool cosplayers that day, so I continued to cosplay as a hobby, while my sister quit. [laughter]. After a break from cosplay due to my studies, I started cosplaying again in 2019.
Since I cosplayed a lot of League of Legends champions, I naturally formed relationships with players. This is how I became a cosplay model for the “LoL Invade Art” exhibition to celebrate the game’s 10th anniversary, and I was also part of a documentary at the LoL Orchestra as a cosplay model.
Interacting with the people I got to know through cosplay, whether watching LCK and/or playing together, made me realize how much of a fan of League of Legends and LoL Esports I am, so this definitely influenced me in choosing a career path.
Out of the wide range of cosplays you’ve done over the years, what’s your favorite? Are there any you wanted to do, but haven’t been able to do yet?
My favorite has to be the Ahri cosplay I made to celebrate the champion’s 10th anniversary in LoL. I cosplayed 11 skins and made a poster with each of them, so next time I want to cosplay each of his skins [16 skins if you include her prestige K/DA skin]. It’s one of my dreams; I don’t know if I can realistically do that.
There were also a lot of cosplayers at the LCK Spring Finals. I know you were on staff there, so did you feel disappointed that you couldn’t cosplay?
This spring finale was the first offline event since the start of COVID. I’ve always wanted to cosplay in an LCK final, but I never imagined my first final would be as a staff. I mean, I was also a little disappointed, but I thought to myself, “That’s what it’s like to see cosplayers working their art.” I also thought each of them was really cool, and their presence really elevated the event.
Again, with the LCK Spring Finals being the first offline event since the onset of COVID, what was your impression of the event?
It was also my first event with returning fans, so watching all the fans there, watching the opening of the finals live and just being absorbed in the live atmosphere of the event really got my heart pumping. heart and be proud to be part of the LCK. I obviously wasn’t part of the full 10 year history of the LCK, but just being there motivated me to work with the LCK for the next 10 years and beyond.
Are these the times when you feel most fulfilled in your work? When else do you feel fulfilled in your work?
It may sound very trivial, but I feel most fulfilled when the journalists I work with say to me, “Good job today. Thank you for your hard work.” When we prepare for media days, we prepare two weeks to a month in advance for these events. There are journalists who thank me as they walk in and out of the room, and even those who send me a message to say thank you. It is then that I feel very fulfilled.
On the other hand, when does the job seem the hardest?
Being part of LCK’s PR team means that every action I take defines LCK’s public image. Every action I take, whether in the LoL Park press room or at events like media day or finals, is put under the microscope, and that can be a burden at times. I always have to be careful with every word I speak and type, and as someone who entered the real world only a year ago, things can get tricky at times.
What kind of advice would you give to those looking to work in esports?
I would say luck is definitely needed, because often times you need to be in the right space at the right time. However, the most important thing is your passion for esports.
I have a friend who also wants to pursue a career in esports, so I told him to prepare a portfolio that reflects the passion. No matter how big or small it is, it will definitely help you in your next esports destination.
No matter how knowledgeable you think you are, there will be areas of the unknown that you haven’t learned yet. Don’t be afraid to dive headfirst into it and face it, because that’s how you’ll learn. Other than that, having good physical stamina is important in esports because you will be working a lot of irregular hours.