Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced the launch of its first esports league, MLB China eSports League, in seven Chinese cities.
The MLB China eSports League will run on MLB: The Show for three months, divided into a regular season and playoffs. The former will be held in Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Beijing, Hangzhou, and Suzhou, and the latter will be hosted in Shanghai.
MLB also revealed that the league will partner with eight esports organisations to appeal to esports fans and will have a recruitment channel on Chinese social media platform Weibo.
Besides the esports league, MLB will host a MLB Experience carnival to help players who can’t join the esports league to experience baseball culture in China. MLB also revealed that the carnival will invite yet-to-be-announced esports guests to interact with fans.
China’s MLB operations team commented on the league: “Although we have seen many examples of the combination of esports and cities, it is not common to see the combination of esports and traditional sports and cities. For MLB China eSports League, we are going to integrate these three elements together, and the traditional fans of MLB will witness our next level development. We believe that more young people will be attracted to enjoy MLB events by launching this esports league.”
Esports Insider says: It’s apparent that MLB is following in footsteps of other traditional sports leagues by trying to expand into esports. MLB’s first venture into the esports scene will be a tough test since China’s market is not overly keen on baseball culture. As there are not too many details announced so far, we look forward to seeing how things develop.