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Under the backdrop of an international esports tournament, the League of Legends World Championship (Worlds 2019), two Chinese esports teams, FunPlus Phoenix and Royal Never Give-Up, signed new partnership deals with local non-endemic companies. Meanwhile, Invictus Gaming and its automotive partner Chevrolet pushed out a new social media campaign on Weibo.
Among the top stories: Chinese esports organization FunPlus Phoenix signs a global partnership deal with Chinese phone brand OPPO; Royal Never Give-Up inks a short-video partnership deal with Kuaishou; Tencent Esports revealed more details for its CrossFire franchised league; and Victory Five closed a $14M USD funding round, partnered with Shenzhen Media Group, and announced it will build a home venue.
Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.
FunPlus Phoenix Signs Global Partnership with OPPO, RNG Signs Partnership with Kuaishou
On Oct. 12, Chinese esports organization FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) announced that the company had signed a global partnership with Chinese smartphone brand OPPO. A part of the deal is to promote the new OPPO phone brand, “OPPO Reno Ace.” More details of the deal have not disclosed yet, but OPPO has posted two video commercials featuring FPX on Chinese social media Weibo.
OPPO is also the global partner of Riot Games for all League of Legends international competitions through 2024. OPPO phones are currently being promoted throughout the League of Legends World Championship, and will also be featured in this year’s All-Star event, and next year’s Mid-Season Invitational.
This is OPPO’s first partnership with an esports team. FPX was founded in 2017, and was one of the best performing League of Legends teams this year, having won China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL) Summer Split. Recently, FPX signed a sponsorship deal with Chinese potato chip brand Oishi. It should be noted that alongside Oishi and OPPO (apart from live streaming platform Huya), all partners and sponsors of FPX are non-endemic brands, including social media Bixin, and a Chinese restaurant brand Cool Fish.
FPX is currently competing in the League of Legends World Championship group stage in Berlin. Another LPL team competing in the tournament, Royal Never Give-Up (RNG), signed a partnership deal with Chinese short-video platform Kuaishou on Oct.15. As part of the deal, RNG will create short-video content (each lasting one minute at most) to be exclusively posted on Kuaishou. In addition, RNG’s League of Legends player Jian “Uzi” Zihao will be named as “Kuaishou Chief Esports Officier.”
Tencent Esports Unveils CrossFire Franchised League Details, $830K Prize Pool
On Oct. 15, Tencent Esports unveiled the tournament details of its CrossFire franchised competition program, which includes both the CrossFire Pro League (CFPL) and CrossFire Mobile League (CFML). Both competitions will feature ten esports organizations, and last from Oct. 18 to Feb. 22, 2020. The total prize money awarded for the two tournaments will be ¥5.9M RMB ($830K USD). Separately, that’s ¥2.4M ($338K) for the CFML, and ¥3.5M ($493K) for the CFPL.
As Tencent’s top first-person shooter (FPS) esports league in China, the CrossFire competitions have attracted multiple team organizations not only in China, but also internationally. On Sept. 29, Chinese esports organization LGD Gaming announced that the company had partnered with North American organization Reciprocity Corp., to build up a joint esports team called LGD.REC. According to Reciprocity Corp. CEO Chad Larsson, the company paid $1.5M to join the CFPL.
Tencent Esports to Broadcast Esports Educational Open Class to the Public
On Oct. 14, Tencent Esports announced that it will broadcast an exclusive esports educational open class series on Tencent Video and Tencent Sports, with the first class taking place on Oct. 25. The open class series will invite 17 speakers related to the esports industry including Jin Yibo, the co-CEO of TJ Sports; Li Qilin, the owner of LNG Esports and CEO of Viva China Sports; and Ying Shuling, the CEO of Chinese tournament organizer Versus Programming Network (VSPN).
Tencent Esports first announced its open class plans for esports education at its Tencent Global Esports Summit in June. The open class series will focus on four themes: “perseverance,” “breakthrough,” “responsibility,” and the “future.”
Other Esports Business News:
- On Oct. 10, American automobile manufacturer Chevrolet announced a limited-edition car with esports organization Invictus Gaming (IG). Eighty-eight co-branded “Tracker X IG” cars will be exclusively sold on the Chinese e-commerce platform T-Mall, with a price ¥134.9K ($19K).
- On Oct. 11, Chinese production company and tournament organizer ImbaTV announced that the China Dota 2 Development League Season two will feature ¥1.5M ($211K) in prize money. The competition counts eight esports development teams and started on Oct. 14.
- On Oct. 14, Chinese esports organization Victory Five (V5) signed a partnership deal with Shenzhen Media Group (SZMG) to co-build V5’s home venue in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Great Bay Area. V5 also announced that it had raised over ¥100M ($14.12M) in a Series A funding round.
- On Oct. 10, Chinese esports organization Shanghai Gaojing Culture Media announced that it partnered with Riot Games and Spanish media company Mediapro for its 2019 World University Cyber Games (WUCG) in Hainan, China. The WUCG will connect with the League of Legends International College Cup 2019, and Mediapro will provide media support to bring WUCG to Latin America.
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