The top Indian esports business developments in June 2020

Despite the currently ongoing global pandemic and its effect on India (it has the fourth-highest number of cases despite one of the lowest testing rates), esports in the region has been showing a number of positive signs.

The country is currently gradually emerging from a two-month lockdown and most industries are working in limited capacities, yet the flexible nature of esports has allowed it to adapt and establish itself as a staple in the entertainment sector. With entertainment content releases and sports broadcasts across all platforms experiencing a slowdown, esports has played a crucial role in filling the gap

While the terms PUBG Mobile and esports in India are largely synonymous due to the title’s overwhelming popularity in the region, there has been a concentrated effort by tournament organizers in recent months to experiment with new genres and titles.

These are the big stories for the month of June, in collaboration with AFK Gaming.

Fnatic India announces Rising program and partnership With Loco

Fnatic Loco PUBG Mobile
Credit: Fnatic, Loco

Fnatic showed its continued interest in India by setting up some long-term deals for its brand in the region. The team have already shown interest in setting up a facility in India and in 2020, launched their merchandise with regional pricing. It has also announced a nationwide talent hunt that will see a player receiving a professional contract with the squad. The program, known as Fnatic Rising, will be a seven to eight-month-long initiative involving multiple stages, coaching, and training by experts. 

Fnatic also signed a long-term partnership with Indian live streaming platform Loco, which is owned by Pocket Aces (a digital entertainment company focused on mobile video). According to the announcement, the objective will be to create unique esports content including tournaments, live streams, and more, and to figure out what content formats could work for esports in the region. The deal, however, isn’t an exclusive streaming deal and Fnatic’s players are free to stream on other competing live stream platforms.

Read the full article here.

Red Bull partners with Loco

Red Bull Flick Loco
Credit: Red Bull

Another partner that Pocket Aces-owned Loco has managed to get on board is Red Bull. Loco will be the platform of choice for Red Bull’s esports properties – such as the Red Bull Flick CS:GO tournaments, the Red Bull R1v1r runes Dota 2 tournaments, and the Red Bull MEO mobile title events. These events are all played using non-traditional formats of the original game which seems to be the element that Red Bull is striving for.

Paytm First Games partners with Riot Games to host TFT tournament

Paytm First Games Riot Games
Credit: Paytm First Games

Indian digital gaming platform, Paytm First Games announced a partnership with Riot Games to host a Teamfight Tactics tournament for the region.

This is the first time that Riot Games has been actively involved in hosting a tournament in India, even if it is via a third-party organiser. Riot Games has also included South Asia in the marquee event for the title, the Teamfight Tactics: Galaxies Championship. Additionally, the developers revealed plans to launch servers for VALORANT in India, and the release of the mobile version of League of Legends is likely to open up new opportunities for both Riot Games and the South Asian community.

PFG is a joint venture between Alibaba Group’s AGTech and Paytm, an Indian ecommerce payment system. Paytm is currently valued at $16B (£12.9B), making it India’s most valuable startup.

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Nova Esports announces partnership with PUBG Mobile Team Godlike

Nova Esports GodLike
Credit: Nova Esports

Hong Kong-based esports team Nova Esports announced a partnership with an Indian PUBG Mobile team known as Godlike.

As per the announcement, Nova Esports will be looking after players’ salaries, providing boot camp support, and offering international exposure. The roster will play under the name Nova Godlike as a result of the agreement.This is the first time that Nova Esports has operated in the South Asian region, but the team is a big name in the mobile esports space and has rosters across Arena of Valor, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and League of Legends across Asia, South America, and Europe. 

Read the full article here.

Sports management firm Baseline Ventures to manage Marcos Gaming

Baseline Ventures to manage Marcos Gaming
Credit: Marcos Gaming

Baseline Ventures, an Indian company that works in the sports and entertainment sectors with verticals such as talent management, licensing, and media rights has announced its entry into esports by partnering with a local team known as Marcos Gaming.

The team is primarily known for their PUBG Mobile squad but – since its inception in December 2019 – has gone on to field rosters in Garena Free Fire and Call of Duty: Mobile. Baseline Ventures manages several prominent Indian athletes, including cricketers, badminton players, and squash players. It has also facilitated sponsorship deals with the ATP and MotoGP.

Marketing agency 121XP launches esports vertical

121XP BlitzkriegXP
Credit: BlitzkriegXP

121XP, an experiential first marketing agency from India, announced its entry into the esports market with the launch of a team called BlitzkriegXP. The team has announced plans r hold tryouts to scout for suitable players and has also committed to hiring coaching staff, providing necessary infrastructure and hiring content creators for the organisation. 

AFK Gaming is an India-based esports media and content company that aims to provide quality and consistent coverage about teams, players, tournaments and competitive video games with a primary focus on the Asian region.

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