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The Chinese esports industry has seen a small comeback from the negative impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), thanks to the announcement of several new competitions and sponsorships last week.
However, disruptions are still frequent in the industry. Chinese Dota 2 organization Team Aster won the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor in Kiev, and qualified for the ESL One Los Angeles Major. At the time of writing, three of five players still haven’t received U.S. visas. Zhili, the CEO of Team Aster told The Esports Observer it is also looking for alternative players as a backup plan, in case players fail in visa applications or are late for the event.
Among the top stories: China’s state-run media China Central Television (CCTV) plans to broadcast the first Chinese esports documentary, “Esports In China,” on its main channel; NetEase will launch the $120K Warcraft III Gold Team competition; Vici Gaming Dota 2 team signed a sponsorship deal with betting operator JBO; Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok donated $25K to South Korea to help contain the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea; and esports will feature as a medal sport at the 2021 Asian Indoor and Martial Art Games.
Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.
CCTV, Tencent Esports Partner for the First Chinese Esports Documentary
On March 10, China’s state-run, China Central Television (CCTV), announced that the first Chinese esports documentary, “Esports In China” will be broadcasted on its CCTV 9 Channel March 14.
The documentary was co-created by CCTV and Tencent Esports, the esports division of the Chinese largest game publisher Tencent. Meanwhile, Chinese video platform Bilibili, Tencent Video, and Tencent Sport will also broadcast the documentary.
According to the announcement, the documentary has six episodes, and was filmed in 457 days, across 28 Chinese cities, as well as Los Angeles and Boston. In addition, this documentary features multiple competitions with more than 20 esports titles, and interviewed over 80 Chinese esports professional staff members.
NetEase Launches New $120K Warcraft III Competition – Warcraft III Gold Team
On March 6, Chinese game publisher NetEase announced that the company has launched a new esports competition – the Warcraft III Gold Team in its NetEase Golden Series, NetEase’s top esports tournament series brand.
The competition will feature a ￥860K RMB ($120K USD) prize pool and be played in Warcraft III: Reforged. The competition will open registration for the open qualifier in March, and the top eight teams will be qualified for an offline final between June 5-7. NetEase did not disclose the location of the final.
It should be noted that players will register in a team rather than as an individual. Each team can have three players.
Betting Operator JBO Title Sponsors Vici Gaming Dota 2 Team
On March 6, Chinese esports organization Vici Gaming (VG) announced that its Dota 2 team signed a sponsorship deal with betting operator JBO. JBO’s logo will feature alongside the player’s in-game ID during gameplay.
VG has been recognized as the best performance Chinese Dota 2 team in 2019-2020 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC). The team ranked top 2 of the DPC, and are basically confirmed to qualify for The International 2020 Stockholm.
Besides VG’s Dota 2 team, JBO has sponsored three Chinese esports teams this year, including Keen Gaming (KG) Dota 2 Team, Killer Angel, and the 5Power CS:GO team.
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, Riot Games, Donate to Help South Korea Coronavirus Outbreak
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, the legendary League of Legends player and shareholder of T1 Entertainment & Sports, has donated 30M KRW ($25K) to help contain the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea.
“I wasn’t planning to open my donation information to the public,” said Lee, in a phone call interview by Korea Daily News, “But I want to have more people pay attention to this coronavirus situation.”
On March 11, game publisher Riot Games donated 10K medical protection suits, and 10K surgical suits to the Korean Medical Association to fight the coronavirus situation in South Korea. At the time of writing, South Korea has confirmed 7,755 coronavirus infection cases according to China News. This situation has led the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) to postpone activities since March 6.
Other Esports Business News:
- On March 7, Chinese Honor of Kings team eStarPro announced that it has rebranded to Wuhan eStarPro for the upcoming King Pro League.
- On March 6, Chinese esports organization LGD Gaming announced that it has acquired esports organization SDR, and established its own Peacekeeper Elite team. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- On March 10, the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) confirmed that the 2021 Pattaya Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) will feature esports as a medal sport. The organization has not yet disclosed which titles would be played at the event.
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