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Ibai Llanos, born in Bilbao (Spain) in 1995, is one of the most recognized figures in the world of Twitch and eSports both nationally and internationally, but his influence does not end there. If you still don’t know him, discover his story with us.

Who is Ibai Llanos

His full name is Ibai Llanos Garatea, but people know him as Ibai. Simply Ibai.

As he himself has mentioned on numerous occasions in his Twitch livestreams, from a very young age he was very curious and imaginative. He was also interested in sports and journalism, as well as video games like League of Legends or Call of Duty, like many other content creators who became famous for uploading gameplays to YouTube.

However, if one had to find a word to define Ibai, it would be charisma. A concept that many media and relevant people in the industry, as well as his own colleagues, refer to when talking about the streamer. His ability to communicate and deliver relevant messages to the audience that is watching him or to those who follow him on social networks, has led him to achieve things that he himself could never have imagined.

In this article we tell you how the creative and charismatic Bilbao boy from a humble family became one of the most influential people in Spain.

The beginnings with League of Legends and the LVP

In 2014, Ibai casted (commented, broadcast) League of Legends (LoL) games for fun with his friend Ander Cortés in the bronze category, the lowest level at the time. After participating in a casting for the Professional Video Game League (LVP), both of them started narrating games professionally the same year.

From there, he started casting numerous national, European and international competitions with the LVP. In 2016, he moved to Barcelona to work full-time as a caster.

The explosion of eSports caused more and more companies to become interested in sponsoring events and teams, helping to popularize and professionalize the sector, which has also benefited Ibai, who was the winner of the Trasgo de Oro award for best caster between 2015 and 2018.

 

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Una publicación compartida de Ibai (@ibaillanos)

Currently, Ibai is again linked to League of Legends thanks to his own project: KOI.

Life beyond eSports

The LVP gave him the opportunity to grow as a caster, but in recent years his commentator aspect has led him to narrate official football and basketball matches of the highest national category, as well as giving voice to the narrations of the Volta (street football) mode of FIFA20.

Since 2019 he has co-presented the late night “Hoy no se sale” on the Ubeat subscription channel, owned by Mediapro and exclusively dedicated to eSports.

His most media appearance for the general public took place during the first week of quarantine, when he organized a charity tournament in collaboration with La Liga and Banco Santander with the aim of raising funds to fight against Covid-19. The tournament was attended by stars from almost all La Liga teams and raised 180,000 € for Unicef.

His stage at G2 Esports

In February 2020, Ibai announced via Twitter that after 6 years he was leaving the Professional Video Game League (LVP) to sign for the G2 Esports team.

In this way, he joined his ex-colleagues and LVP casters Ander, BarbeQ and Reven with whom he lived in a house in San Cugat del Vallés (Barcelona) and from which they dedicated themselves to creating content. Thus, since he was signed by G2, he performs live shows on Twitch practically daily starting at 7 pm, in which, in addition to playing video games, he also comments on current affairs and conducts consultations.

However, this stage did not last long. In January 2021, Ibai Llanos announced in a live video before more than 180,000 viewers that he was leaving G2 Esports to start broadcasting under his own brand.

Ibai assured that he would seek to continue collaborating with G2 Esports in the future, thanking them for their trust and support, however, he was sure that he wanted to launch his own brand, with his own sponsors and collaborators.

“The channel is going to undergo a brutal change. It will change everything, ”Ibai Llanos announced in his message. “In February, all the changes will be made by a professional company on the subject. The idea is to make spectacular streams”, and he added: “we simply wanted to have our own brand, we don’t want to collaborate with any club or any institution”, he commented in a video uploaded to YouTube.

Why Ibai is famous

His naturalness, spontaneity and charisma, along with his ability to comment on any type of content have made him one of the most loved and followed characters by young Spaniards. How could it be otherwise, social networks have played a fundamental role in Ibai’s path to popularity.

As soon as he began to be recognized among eSports fans, he worked on his presence on social networks by publishing humor content with that easygoing attitude that characterizes him and that has allowed him to make a name for himself beyond this sector.

As of today, he has more than 11,3 million followers on YouTube, more than 15 million on Twitch, 14,4 million on Twitter, and 9,9 million on Instagram. Despite how stratospheric these figures are, what really impacts the different Ibai profiles on social networks is the speed of his growth. Since in the summer of 2021 he had 6 million followers on YouTube, 7 million on Twitch and 5 million on Twitter and Instagram.

This popularity among the sports greats has allowed him to interview live athletes who are not very accessible to journalists, such as Piqué or Agüero, with some frequency. The best example of this type of content is the interview he did with Messi on the day he was presented as a new signing for Paris Sant-Germain, broadcast live from the Parisian club’s stadium, in what was the first appearance of the Argentine footballer in Twitch, followed by more than 300,000 viewers.

Creating his own mass shows

Ibai’s success and popularity, added to an excellent business vision, have led him to organize large events, even typical of a more television format, through his Twitch channel. In an intelligent movement that combines the best of both worlds, the configuration of the television show with the connectivity with the public that Twitch allows.

Ibai’s “Las campanadas”

A clear example of this reinterpretation of the “traditional” are “las campanadas”. In 2020, Ibai said goodbye to the year through his Twitch channel, getting more viewers in his golden minute than laSexta or Cuatro. According to data from TVTOP, Ibai had 243,256 recurring users throughout its broadcast and became one of the most watched broadcasts of 2020 in Spain.

The live performance also featured the appearance and special participation of Ibai’s inseparable friends and colleagues: Reven, BarbeQ, Werlyb and Ander. In this way, Ibai orchestrated a broadcast that would delight young and old alike, attracting a greater number and variety of audiences. This was reflected in its results: an average of 337,432 screens connected to the broadcast during its 3 hours, with 801,074 devices connected in the golden minute (at 11:59 p.m.). There were 2,242,000 devices that were connected at some point to the live stream, as Ibai reported on his Twitter account.

Ibai makes the first World Cup of Balloons a reality

What started as an “innocent” tweet posted by Ibai himself, in which he shared a video of a couple of young people playing to hit a balloon in their living room without letting it touch the ground, soon turned into a viral challenge. Piqué, the famous soccer player, reacted to Ibai’s tweet by launching a challenge to the Twitter community. If that post got more than 50,000 retweets, the first Balloon World Cup based in Spain would be organized, an idea that of course ended up becoming a reality thanks to the virality of social networks.

The goal was more than achieved and on October 14, 2021, Port Aventura hosted the first World Cup in Balloons, which was broadcast on the Ibai Twitch channel for six hours. 32 people representing different countries participated in this with the aim of winning the Golden Globe trophy and a prize of 10,000 euros. Finally, it was Francesco de la Cruz, from Peru, who was the overall winner, leaving Jean Spieb, from Germany, in second place and the Spanish representative, Jan Franquesa, in third position.

The event kept more than half a million spectators on the verge of emotion during each game, and when it was the turn of the representative of Spain, the number rose to more than six hundred thousand spectators. According to data from TV Top Spain, the event touched two million visits. The World Cup also managed to be a trending topic on Twitter, exceeding 16,400 tweets.

In October 2022, the second edition of this world championship was held. It again brought together different participants from different parts of the world. However, this time it was a Spaniard who won the Balloon World Cup II, Miguel Imbroda.

“La velada del año”, making history on Twitch

In 2021, Ibai organized the first edition of La Velada del Año, a groundbreaking event in which famous youtubers and streamers left their comfort zone to face each other in a totally different way and far removed from its contents, in nothing less than a tournament boxing event that managed to gather an average of 1 million viewers.

In 2022, Ibai has did it again, The Evening of the Year 2 was held on June 25 at the Barcelona Olympic Pavilion and was broadcast, how could it be otherwise, from the streamer’s own channel. This event became a milestone within the Twitch platform, breaking records, as it reached 2.4 million viewers on average, gathering 3.3 million in the golden minute.

And finally, in 2023, as it could not be otherwise, and following the famous phrase heard in the streamer community “Ibai, do it”: Ibai did it.

He broke his own record, reaching 3.4 million live viewers and making The Evening of the Year 3 the most watched stream in Twitch history. Although actually the number of viewers would have been higher if there hadn’t been a buffering problem in the face of the large number of viewers who were entering the live stream at the same time, an issue, among many others, that he debated with Twitch CEO Dan Clancy himself.

Koi: Ibai Llanos’ most precious proyect

In 2021, Ibai teamed up with Gerard Piqué to form Koi, an eSports team that would also have a team of content creators that has been growing in recent years.

Koi began its journey in eSports by debuting in the LVP Superliga (top Spanish League of Legends competition) and competing in Valorant, another Riot Games video game, under the name “Finetwork Koi“, since one of its main sponsors is Finetwork.

In October 2022, Ibai announced the merger of Koi with Rogue (Infinite Reality), another eSports organization based in the United States, thus opening new opportunities for Koi and fulfilling one of the content creator’s dreams: to take his team to compete in the LEC (League of Legends European Championship). The two clubs would compete together in LEC, Superliga, and the Valorant Champions Tour EMEA (VCT), in addition to having teams in other video games such as Rocket League, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege and Call of Duty.

However, this 2023 has not been all good for the influencer, since as he himself has recently recognized it has not been one of the best years of his life. Since professional difficulties have also impacted his personal life. These difficulties have led to the decision to separate Koi from Infinite Reality, as announced in a statement on November 3:

Given the split, a new project was launched that was not heard of until January 4, 2024: Operation Phoenix. A name that invites us to reflect, given the circumstances of all the problems that the eSports organization has suffered during the last year and that now seems to be starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. After many rumors (and leaks) it has become official: Koi, Mad Lions and Movistar Riders, unite in a single eSports team.

Overactive Media, the largest Canadian eSports company that owns Mad Lions, has signed a letter of intent to acquire Koi and Movistar Riders to form a global eSports powerhouse.

 

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