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Last week, the biggest developments in China’s esports industry revolved around League of Legends and the government itself. The League of Legends eight-year festival concluded at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, with Chinese teams FunPlus Phoenix (FPX), Royal Never Give-Up (RNG), and Invictus Gaming (IG) confirmed to attend the World Championship 2019 to represent the League of Legends Pro League (LPL). In addition, the Chinese government revealed plans to invest close to $1M USD into two esports tournaments in the country.
Among the top stories: LCK team Griffin unveiled Li-Ning co-branded team jerseys; Nike unveiled uniforms for all LPL teams; the Chinese government announced that the China Esports Racing Championship will take place in Chengdu; three LPL teams rebranded for the LPL; the Shanghai-Jingan government unveiled a $700K Esports Shanghai Masters tournament; and TJ Sports announced that the first-ever LPL All-Star will take place in Hainan.
Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China, including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.
Griffin and Li-Ning Unveil Team Jersey for 2019 LOL World Championship
On Sept. 10, South Korean esports organization Team Griffin and Chinese apparel brand Li-Ning showcased their co-branded team jersey for Griffin’s League of Legends team. The squad will be competing in this year’s League of Legends Worlds Championship. The Li-Ning logo will appear on the left chest, and the name will appear on the side of the trousers. Griffin’s parent company Still8, as well as sponsors Huya and Corsair, will also appear on its team t-shirt.
On June 5, Griffin signed an apparel sponsorship deal with China Viva Sports, the sports directional subsidiary of Viva China Holdings Ltd., which is partly owned by Chinese entrepreneur and Li Ning founder, Li-Ning. In addition, China Viva Sports has its own a League of Legends Pro League (LPL) team, LNG Esports.
In February, global apparel brand Nike signed a four-year exclusive apparel sponsorship deal with TJ Sports for the LPL, which means China Viva Sports is not able to provide a Li-Ning branded team jersey for LNG Esports, and Li-Ning is not able to sponsor any LPL teams.
In addition, on Sept. 8 Nike unveiled 16 individual team uniforms for LPL. The general design of the team kits featured a general “wide V style,” different color combination with LPL team logo, and the Nike Swoosh logo. The “Nike X LPL” uniforms do not feature any of the teams’ sponsors.
General Administration of Sport of China Announces $280K China Esports Racing Championship in Chengdu
On Sept. 8, the General Administration of Sport of China announced that the China Esports Racing Championship will take place in the Chengdu University of Electronic Science and Technology between Sept. 21-22, with a ¥2M RMB ($280K) total prize pool.
According to the announcement, this is the first racing esports tournament with Chinese government support, and the winner of the tournament will also be recommended to professional racing teams.
A number of companies have already made their first steps into Chinese racing esports. In April, Chinese sport company Juss Intellisports signed a partnership deal with Formula One (F1), and the two companies hosted the F1 New Balance Esports Series China Championship in Shanghai in August with $500K total prize pool.
FPX, OMG, and VG Rebrand for League of Legends Pro League
On Sept. 7, three Chinese LPL teams, FunPlus Phoenix (FPX), Oh My God (OMG) and Vici Gaming (VG) rebranded their team logos for the 2020 season. FPX will also compete in the League of Legends World Championship with its new logo.
VG’s new logo features a black panther. According to VG’s announcement, this is a symbol of speed and strength. The FPX’s new logo still features an open-wings phoenix, which represents a readiness for future challenges. OMG’s new logo features three triangles, which individually symbolize O, M, and G. According to its announcement, O means “Honor”, M means “Heroism”, and G means “Greatness.”
It should be noted that the new logos have already been applied to the “Nike X LPL” uniforms.
Other Esports Business News:
- On Sept. 8, TJ Sports announced a new tournament event: the LPL All-Star. This will take place in Hainan at the end of this year. More details of the event have not been disclosed. While there is an annual League of Legends All-Star event featuring teams from across the world, the LPL All-Star will be the first hosted by a single regional competition.
- On Sept. 6, Chinese esports organization Edward Gaming announced that the company will build a new headquarter in Shanghai, hosting multiple esports divisions. The estimated completion date is February 2020.
- On Sept. 7, Chinese esports organization LGD Gaming announced that the company has ended its home venue partnership with Allied Esports Entertainment, and is looking for a new home venue partner in Hangzhou.
- On Sept. 9, Tencent Esports announced its CrossFire franchised league has ended its bidding process, and unveiled four of the planned 10 esports teams. The competing teams include All Gamers (AG), Baisha, Qingjiu Club, and Super Valiant Gaming (SV). A source close to the league told The Esports Observer that the minimum franchise fee for a slot is ¥10M ($1.41M).
- On Sept. 6, the Shanghai-Jingan government unveiled the Esports Shanghai Masters, which will be held at Shanghai Jingan Sports Center from Nov. 28 – Dec. 1. The competition will offer a ¥5M ($700K) total prize pool, and feature Overwatch, League of Legends, Warcraft III, and Dungeon Fighter Online (DNF).
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