With the major esports leagues in China such as League of Legends Pro League (LPL) and King Pro League (KPL) finishing their Spring Splits, China’s esports industry entered into a transitory break.
Due to the global coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the industry has seen a significant decline in the number of third-party esports competitions compared to the same period last year. As we discussed in our COVID-19 feature article, the pandemic is killing small and medium esports enterprises (SMEs), many of whom have business models connected to in-person events and activities.
Beyond the negative impact of the pandemic, the industry started to consider and understand the ecosystem during this break; Tencent hosted two esports seminars, discussing esports educational programs and business inspirations from KPL, with multiple esports professionals and brand representatives.
Among the top stories: the KPL Union confirmed a partnership with chat service TT; esports organization Change The Game acquired VC Gaming’s PUBG Champions League (PCL) spot; Penguin Esports signed a streaming deal with PUBG team Tianba; and World University Cyber Games (WUCG) signed partnership deals with Cooler Monster and headset brand Xiberia.
Tencent Esports Hosts First Esports Educational Workshop, Expects More Partners in Education
On May 19, Tencent Esports hosted an esports educational workshop at its global headquarters. The private workshop invited multiple esports professionals, educational company leaders, and university representatives to Shenzhen, including Dido Esports, Maijing Education, SuperG Education, VSPN, and Sichuan University of Media and Communication.
During the workshop, Tencent Esports noted that the esports educational project is one of its seven core businesses, and depends on three aspects to build the system: public education, professional education, and academic degree education.
From these three aspects, Tencent Esports is looking for more opportunities and additional partners from education companies and universities. To begin the process of building this system, Tencent Esports has partnered with Chinese universities such as Shenzhen University, Sichuan University, Wuhan University, Communication University of China, as well as one of the top U.S tech universities – the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Jie Yun, brand manager of Tencent Esports, highlighted four key points of the company’s educational project during the workshop: The company will continue to keep an open mind, create a more dynamic esports ecosystem; help esports companies to solve the issue of talent shortages; reinforce communication with government to help them understand the esports ecosystem; and exploit more resources in the online teaching space.
KPL Hosts Esports Marketing Seminar, Confirms Chat Service Partnership With TT
On May 25, KPL Union hosted its first seminar at the VSPN Jingan venue. The seminar featured Yijia Zhang, president of KPL Union; Duo Zhen, the COO of VSPN; Shiya Lin, senior project manager of vivo; and Jiaxiong Lu, brand PR director of TT.
During the seminar, Yijia confirmed that two teams, Team WE and LGDAE, officially have their own home venues in Xi’an and Hangzhou, respectively. The teams participating in the home-away style teams of KPL has now increased to eight with these new additions.
In addition, Yijia said that mobile esports competitions have grown the esports fan population. Viewership of the KPL Spring Split saw a 50% increase from last year, and over 3M people registered to attend 2020 Honor of Kings public competitions.
Due to COVID-19, the KPL was moved to online play. Some professional players were not able to play with their teams and had to play at home. Therefore, the KPL Union signed a partnership deal with Chinese chat service TT, to make sure players could have good communication in the game during competitions. During the seminar, the KPL Union and Jiaxiong officially confirmed this partnership.
According to Jiaxiong, TT has a close to 200M users, and over 70% of that number are Honor of Kings players.
In fact, TT is not only the official partner of KPL, but also owns a team called TTG.XQ. In February, Honor of Kings team XQ announced that the organization had partnered with TT, and rebranded to TTG.XQ with a new logo featuring a goat. TTG.XQ also represents the Chinese city of Guangzhou.
CTG Acquires VC’s PUBG Championship League Slot, Pays $220K for Player Transfers
On May 21, Chinese esports organization Change The Game (CTG) announced that it had acquired VC Gaming’s PUBG Championship League (PCL) spot, and three players from VC and Weibo Gaming. PCL is the top PUBG competition in mainland China.
Financial terms related to the slot were not disclosed.
According to the announcement, CTG paid a ￥1M RMB ($140K USD) transfer fee to Weibo Gaming and acquired player Cai “Running” Cheng. Also, the organization paid double ￥300K ($42K) transfer fees to VC, and acquired players Wu “5vvvv” Wei and Zixu Wang. In total, the transfer fees came to ￥1.6M ($220K).
Following this acquisition, VC announced that the organization had ceased operations.
Other Esports Business News:
- On May 24, Tencent’s livestreaming platform Penguin Esports announced that it signed a streaming deal with Chinese PUBG team Tianba.
- On May 23, World University Cyber Games (WUCG) announced that it signed partnership deals with Cooler Monster and headset brand Xiberia.
- China’s second-largest game publisher NetEase released its 2020 Q1 financial report. The company reported ￥17B ($2.37B) net revenue (an 18.3% increase), with ￥13.5B ($1.88B) of that net revenue coming from its online gaming service.
- China’s two major livestreaming platforms, DouYu and Huya, released their 2020 Q1 reports. Huya reported $24M (170% increase) in profits and 151M average monthly active users, while DouYu reported $36.5M profit and a 26% increase in paying users.
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