Last week, there was online discord in China’s esports industry. A drama on Chinese television depicting the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) and its players was deemed disrespectful, and in addition, there was a controversial sponsorship.
All of this is still in the backdrop of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which has passed 4M cases globally (4.2M at the time of writing). In China, traditional sports tournaments and live events are still not reopening. Therefore, more non-endemic brands put their eyes on third-party esports tournaments, and not all of them are suitable for young esports audiences.
Among the top stories: The Shanghai government confirmed the League of Legends World Championship will be hosted in Shanghai Pudong district in October; TJ Sports appealed to a Chinese TV drama over its controversial depiction of League of Legends players; the World University Cyber Games signed two sponsorship deals with IPANSON, and Areca-nut brand KKW; and North American esports organization Team Liquid opened its Taobao online store.
Shanghai Confirms LoL World Championship Will Begin in the Pudong District this October
On May 11, the China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference, more commonly known as “ChinaJoy,” hosted a press conference in Shanghai. Many of the district’s politicians and video game executives were in attendance.
During the conference, Wei Huang, vice director of Shanghai Pudong District Propaganda, announced that the League of Legends World Championship 2020 will not be delayed or canceled, and will kick off in the Shanghai Pudong district in October.
In addition, Yayuan Wang, vice director of Shanghai Municipal Propaganda announced that the ChinaJoy will go ahead this year, from July 31 to Aug. 3 in the Shanghai Pudong district. He also stated that there will be a global esports business conference on Aug. 1 at ChinaJoy.
Since the global pandemic, there has been some concern about whether the League of Legends World Championship would be delayed or canceled this year, as was the case for other major esports events, such as Dota 2’s The International or the ESL One Rio Major. Committing to the event is a positive sign that the Shanghai government and TJ Sports are prepared for hosting the World Championships with the most strict COVID-19 measures.
TJ Sports Appeals to Chinese TV Drama ‘Falling into Your Smile’ to Respect LPL and Players
Last week, a romantic drama that aired on Chinese television called “Falling into Your Smile” was widely criticized by the esports community, and even drew the attention of an executive from League of Legends Pro League (LPL) organizer, TJ Sports.
The drama, about a female esports player who enters into a relationship with her team captain, based many of its characters on real players and teams, including multiple Chinese LPL stars, as well as European esports organizations Fnatic and G2 Esports, and South Korean team T1. The script changed the names of Chinese players and teams for legal reasons, such as using “G4” instead of G2 Esports, and positioned its fictional version of T1 mid-laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok as the “villain” of the story.
This was met with heavy criticism from the Chinese esports community, which regarded this drama as a romantic story first and foremost, under the cover of esports.
Feng Xiao, head of brand and marketing of TJ Sports clarified that TJ Sports did not authorize and partner with this drama.
“Behind every esports champion, there are countless efforts and sweat. Behind every esports story, there are countless esports professionals with their dreams,” Xiao said. “We didn’t offer authorization and partnership, but ask that they please respect the LPL.”
The situation is similar to the “E My Sports” episode of the Simpsons, which aired in 2019. The parody featured a League of Legends-inspired game, and its own character modeled after Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, though publisher Riot Games was consulted during the writing process.
IPANSON and Areca-Nut Brand KWW Sponsors World University Cyber Games
On May 9, the World University Cyber Games (WUCG) signed a sponsorship deal with IPANSON. The Chinese PC brand will also become the official hardware partner of WUCG.
In addition, on May 8 WUCG signed Areca-Nut brand KWW as a sponsor and official partner.
This partnership generated heated discussion in Chinese esports community circles. As the name of WUCG describes, this is a tournament targeting university students, mainly between 18- 22-years-old.
The poster of the announcement featured a pack of the KWW product, with a health disclaimer warning that “It’s harmful to oral health if chewed for a long time.” It should be noted that this message was obscured, but still recognizable.
Chewing areca-nut is a common practice in Asia, usually as a stimulant. According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), the areca-nut has been recognized as a carcinogen. “The areca nut, a common component of many different chewing habits, is carcinogenic to humans,” according to WHO.
Other Esports Business News:
- On May 10, North American esports organization Team Liquid announced that the organization has opened its Taobao store, selling its designed apparel online.
- On May 13, TJ Sports announced that the company will partner with Riot Games Korea to host the League of Legends Mid-Season Cup (LPL vs LCK) from May 28, featuring a $600K USD prize pool. LPL and League of Legends Champion Korea (LCK) will each be represented by the four best-performing teams.
- On May 9, the Beijing government announced that the World Cyber Games (WCG) will become a part of its “Esports Beijing 2020” series, alongside the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM).
- On May 7, the Republic of Korea (ROK) Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced that the country, China, and Japan will co-host an esports tournament in November. In light of the global pandemic, this tournament may also play online without live audiences.
- On May 8, Chinese esports organization Super Valiant (SV) announced that the organization renewed its partnership with gaming chair brand AutoFull.
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