China Esports Blast: February 2022

Each month, sports digital agency Mailman shares the biggest esports stories and insights from China’s esports scene, along with expert analysis on why they matter.

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China Esports Blast is a monthly series, written by Mailman

With the Chinese New Year being celebrated around the country, China’s esports landscape slowed down in February. Nevertheless, there were several key partnerships and market developments worth noting.

Yves Saint Laurent Sponsors LPL

French luxury beauty brand Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) signed a sponsorship deal with Chinese League of Legends operator TJ Sports for the League of Legends Pro League (LPL), becoming the league’s ‘special partner’. The partnership was celebrated around YSL’s Valentine’s limited edition gift box. 

YSL followed LANCOME’s steps by becoming an official partner with League of Legends in China. This deal reflects the growing female demographic within esports and the belief that there is a significant ROI in sponsoring premium esports IP, even from international cosmetic brands that continue to invest in this space.

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Image via: Mailman

Rare Atom Acquires Vici Gaming CS:GO Team 

Wuhan-based esports organisation Rare Atom (RA) acquired the CS:GO team previously owned by Chinese esports organisation Vici Gaming (VG). Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Before this acquisition, RA also acquired VG’s League of Legends team at the beginning of 2021. This leaves VG with only their Dota 2 and Honor of Kings teams.

VG was one of the biggest esports organisations in China, but RA, a relative newcomer in the esports world with backing from the Wuhan government, has acquired two of their teams. We’re looking forward to seeing how this fresh perspective and new organisation helps to evolve the Chinese esports industry. 

LGD Gaming CEO Pan “RURU” Jie to Compete for Organisation’s Peacekeeper Elite Squad 

Pan “RURU” Jie, the founder and CEO of Chinese esports organisation LGD Gaming has become an official player for the team’s Peacekeeper Elite roster. According to LGD Gaming, Jie has passed the registration and certification process from Tencent as she becomes only the second female player in the Peacekeeper Elite League (PEL). Jie founded LGD Gaming when she was 23, and the organisation has become one of the most successful esports organisations in China. Its Dota 2 team PSG.LGD has a long term co-branding deal with French football team Paris Saint-Germain.

It’s very rare to see the owner of a traditional sports team competing in a professional tournament, but we’ve seen it twice already in the Chinese esports industry. Jie follows Invictus Gaming (IG) CEO Sicong Wang, who played for his League of Legends team in 2018. It’s also great to see Jie become the second female pro gamer in the PEL, even at the age of 36. 

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Image via: Mailman

Wuhan RSG Signed Peacekeeper Elite Player ‘FlowerC’ for $700K

Wuhan-based PEL team RSG signed Chinese Peacekeeper Elite player Hua “FlowerC” Chi for RMB 4.41M ($700K) from the player transfer market, becoming the highest value transfer this season. Tencent, the operator of PEL, confirmed the figure. 

The large transfer price attracted huge attention from the esports industry on social media. This record transfer fee has likely been driven due to the constantly changing regulations and game approval process, with professional players’ value expected to continue to rise. We expect to see more huge transfer prices in not only Peacekeeper Elite, but also Honor of Kings, League of Legends, and Dota 2.

Mailman is a leading sports digital agency in China. It helps sports organisations & brands to build sustainable businesses in China, one of the world’s most challenging markets. Mailman is an Endeavor China company.

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