EDward Gaming, a well respected Chinese esports organisation has today announced that it has entered a partnership with French football club Olympique Lyonnais (“Lyon”). The move will see Lyon expand its existing Chinese FIFA Online 3 roster and be named “Lyon EDG E-Sports Club”.
In March this year Lyon announced their entrance to the Chinese FIFA scene with the signing of four players, becoming the first European club to enter the Chinese FIFA Online 3 market in the process. The move back then was a continuation of Lyon’s Chinese expansion. In December 2016 investment fund IDG Capital took a 20% stake in OL Groupe’s capital holding. The collaboration was part of a joint venture called ‘Beijing Lyon Xingzhi Sports Culture Co., Ltd’ along with Xingzhi Sports, an affiliate of IDG Capital and OL Groupe.
Whilst Lyon previously unveiled four FIFA Online 3 players, EDward Gaming have yet to venture into FIFA. The team is most famous for its League of Legends team, who have won the Chinese regional championship five times and are frequenters of the World Championship stage. The move will see three further players added, bringing the total roster up to seven.
FIFA Online 3 is likely a game that the West are unfamiliar with. It’s the competitive medium of FIFA in the East, with Asian countries all offering a free to play title that one would assume is similar to the Western version. The game is distributed by Tencent in China, the company also behind titles such as League of Legends.
At the moment it has been outlined that the partnership does not extend beyond FIFA Online 3, but it’s almost a dangerously close move towards the League of Legends scene given the EDG’s status within the League scene.
EDG were the first global esports team partner of Gillette, with the partnership being revealed back in May.
Esports Insider says: Big news as Lyon continue their esports expansion in China. They’re still the only European club out in Asia at the moment. It’ll be interesting to see if the move means a potential foray into esports outside of FIFA for the French outfit at some point soon.