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From Nov. 29 to Dec. 2, Chinese conglomerate Tencent hosted the $500K USD PUBG Mobile Club Open (PMCO) Fall Split Global Finals in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. The tournament was also produced by Chinese tournament organizer and production company VSPN, and title sponsored by Chinese phone brand Vivo. Bigetron RA, an Indonesian esports team, won the championship and took home $180K in prize money. Chinese esports organization TOP Esports (TES) won the runner-up spot.
The PMCO Fall Split Global Finals was the biggest PUBG Mobile tournament in 2019, which could be regarded as the conclusion of Tencent’s $2.5M PUBG Mobile esports plan in 2019. During the tournament, James Yang, director of PUBG Mobile global esports at Tencent Games, also committed to putting double the prize money ($5M) into the PUBG Mobile esports ecosystem in 2020, and adding three leagues to the overall structure.
“The PMCO Fall Split Global Finals features $500K total prize pool, which is the highest prize money in PUBG Mobile history,” Wang Chengfan, vice president and general manager of VSPN Global, told The Esports Observer.
Alongside the title sponsor Vivo, this tournament also partnered with three local companies in Kuala Lumpur, including drink brand 100 Plus, Malaysian telecommunications company Yoodo, and food delivery service Hungry. All four brands had their own booths in the main venue. In addition, tournament organizers Tencent and VSPN invited Chinese-Canadian artist Henry Lau and Indian rapper Aditya Prateek Singh Sisodia (stage name “Badshah”) as special musical performers during the tournament.
Vivo not only provided its “Vivo Nex 3”’ smartphone for professional teams to compete with during the tournament, but also showcased it at its booth for attendees to check out. Vivo and Tencent also invited several PUBG cosplayers and attendees to take pictures with the new phone.
At the booth of local drink brand 100 Plus, attendees could take a sample drink during the tournament, and the brand also provided refreshments for professional players and tournament workers.
Malaysian telecommunications service Yoodo had a booth alongside Vivo, where the company provided telecommunication advisory services for fans. Yoodo also has a local PUBG Mobile team called Yoodo Gank that competed in this tournament as the best Malaysian team in the PMCO Fall Split SEA League.
“Esports in Malaysia is actually very big, especially in mobile esports,” Chow Tuck Mun, the CEO of Yoodo explained to The Esports Observer. “Most mobile esports audiences are young audiences and we actually sponsored the first PUBG Mobile national tournament in Malaysia with Tencent. We saw a huge opportunity in mobile esports and PUBG Mobile, so we found[ed] Yoodo Gank and expected to become the best PUBG Mobile team in Malaysia.”
Tuck Mun also pointed out that the company hosted online PUBG Mobile tournaments in Malaysia. “As a telecommunication service, we provided multiple data packs for our users, and the users don’t need to pay data for playing PUBG Mobile.”
Food delivery brand Hungry provided food for fans at its booth during the event. Each attendee could take a box of fried chicken by ticket, which reflected the classic PUBG slogan, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner.”
“We’ve prepared this event for over a month ago,” Gary Soo, the CEO of Hungry, told The Esports Observer. “We added the tournament information in our food delivery app, and changed our delivery box into the ‘air drop box’ from PUBG Mobile.”
Looking at the activations of PMCO Fall Split Grand Finals, three brands — Vivo, Hungry, and Yoodo — are all related to mobile devices and relevant services. Recently, more and more smartphone brands and services have seen sponsorship opportunities in the esports industry, especially Chinese smartphone brands such as Huawei, OPPO, and China Mobile.
With more investment next year by Tencent, mobile esports tournaments like PMCO are considered an active way to promote products for mobile brands. While mobile esports tournaments are a natural fit for mobile brands, these companies are also investing in PC esports: In October, OPPO signed sponsorship deals with esports organization FunPlus Phoenix, and game publisher Riot Games for its League of Legends international competitions (League of Legends World Championships, Mid-Season Invitational, and All-Star Event through 2024). Chinese phone brand Hongmo is also the official partner of China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL).
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