Tencent is joining the likes of the Overwatch League and the LCS with its own franchised league, King Pro League, for the popular mobile MOBA game Honor of Kings.
The franchising of the league means it will comprise of city-based teams, with twelve teams already competing in the Spring Split. This is divided into two divisions, Eastern and Western, in the cities of Shanghai and Chengdu respectively.
The prize pool for the Spring Split, which started less than a week ago on March 21st, is 12,000,000 Yuan (£1,352,280). The tournament is organized predominantly by Versus Programming Network (VSPN) with assistance from China’s LPL (LoL Pro League).
There’s no word as of yet as to which cities Tencent will be adding to the league, nor whether it’ll be more of a buy-in process such as the Overwatch League is. The Esports Observer cites a source which claims “this first year will be seen as an experiment for Tencent’s long-term plans, which includes increasing the city list to eight through 2019, and holding an international competition in Beijing this July.”
The 2018 season of the King Pro League is sponsored by Vivo, a Chinese smartphone company, as well as McDonald’s and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. The team’s currently taking part in the King Pro League are as follows: X-QUEST, AG Super Play, Black Ananas, Edward Gaming.Mobile, eStarPro, GK Gaming, Hero, JC Gaming, QGhappy, Royal Never Give up, WeFun.D, and YTG Gaming.
Esports Insider says: Franchised leagues such as the Overwatch League are still early in their inception, but so far they’re proving to be a success with big bucks committed, so it makes sense that Tencent would want to try this out for a popular game such as Honor of Kings.