Super Evil Megacorp, the developer behind the mobile esports title Vainglory, has announced a new partnership with Alisports, the sports branch of Alibaba Group.
Alisports is also the host of the World Electronic Sports Games (WESG).
Vainglory will expand its esports ecosystem by becoming part of the WESG 2018 lineup. The first mobile only esport integrated with the tournament structure for 2018, Vainglory will stand alongside the other titles which include CS:GO, Dota 2, Hearthstone, and StarCraft II.
Chinese e-commerce juggernaut, Alibaba, formed the Alisports division back in 2015 and set their sights on ‘improving the sports industry through technology’.
More recently, Alisports secured an Olympics sponsorship deal until 2028 alongside Coca-Cola and Samsung. In 2016 Alisports formed WESG, an international esports tournament that saw 63,000 participants from 125 countries compete for a share of $5.5m (£m).
The WESG 2017 Grand Finals are taking place this week in Hainan, China during which time Vainglory will be revealed during a live showcase as the latest title to be added to the WESG 2018 ranks.
This will be the first-ever Vainglory 5v5 cross-region esports event, with teams representing the likes of China, Korea, Indonesia, and Singapore.
Kristian Segerstrale, CEO of Super Evil Megacorp commented: “We’re extremely excited to partner with Alisports, a brand that is playing a pivotal role in developing the sports and esports industries.
“The partnership signifies an important step for Vainglory esports and comes at a perfect time with the recent launch of 5V5. We’re excited to offer our teams a global platform on which to compete and we hope the community will join in to support their local teams competing in WESG.”
“Our ambition for the World Electronic Sports Games is to incorporate the most influential titles in each genre in order to unite fans and talent from each corner of the world. Our current line up sees some of the most popular games played and welcomes the best teams. We are always looking to evolve,” said Jason Fung, Global eSports Director of Alisports. “Vainglory is one of the world’s biggest mobile esport with one of the most engaged communities. We’re excited to welcome Vainglory teams and fans to WESG 2018.”
Alibaba is of course a major competitor to Tencent too, the company behind League of Legends and Arena of Valor, meaning this rivalry now involves Super Evil Megacorp and Vainglory. Alibaba has also been in the news this week with their esports Olympics ambitions, and the fact that they’re keen to support this goal as long as the titles selected are neither violent nor gory.
Alibaba CEO Zhang Dazhong recently stated that they are “pushing for soccer, car racing and other games to be endorsed as an official competitive sport”. The CEO of the company, which it’s worth noting is signed on as a key sponsor of the Olympics until 2028, also stated that “given the fast-moving nature of technology and games, reviewing games annually, as opposed to every four years, would be best for the Olympics.”
Esports Insider says: This is huge news for Vainglory and Super Evil Megacorp, and frankly mobile esports in general. A partnership with Alisports is a major achievement; and the company’s commitment in the form of a long term investment into the Olympics, is evidence of their more global aspirations going forward. We look forward to seeing an esports division of the Tencent and Alibaba battle play out too!