Each month, sports digital agency Mailman rounds up the biggest industry news and insights from China’s esports scene, along with analysis on why it matters.
Over the past month, China’s esports industry experienced a milestone moment during the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games. The Chinese esports national team won four gold medals in Honor of Kings, Peacekeeper Elite, Dream Three Kingdom and Dota 2, and one bronze medal in League of Legends. But outside the Hangzhou Asian Games, there were also multiple notable partnerships.
Among the top stories in September: Tencent signed a media rights deal with China Central Television (CCTV) to broadcast the Hangzhou Asian Games, LGD Gaming ended a five-year partnership with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Weibo Gaming signed a sponsorship deal with AORUS, and OPPO signed a sponsorship deal with JingDong Gaming.
Tencent signs media rights deal with state-owned television for Hangzhou Asian Games
On September 19th, Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings signed a partnership deal with China’s state-owned CCTV, becoming one of the co-streaming platforms of the Hangzhou Asian Games, alongside Douyin, Migu and Kuaishou. Tencent’s platforms including Tencent Video, Tencent Sports, Tencent News, WeChat, and subsidiary Huya had rights to co-stream the Hangzhou Asian Games with CCTV.
This may well also benefit Tencent-related esports titles League of Legends, Peacekeeper Elite, Honor of Kings, FIFA Online 4, and Street Fighter V. It should be noted that gaming platform DouYu was not included in this deal.
On September 25th, China’s CCTV 5+ channel broadcasted the first Honor of Kings competition – China vs Thailand. It was a milestone moment for China’s esports industry as esports returned to China’s state-owned mainstream TV channel after 19 years.
In 2004, China released a prohibition policy to ban esports on mainstream TV channels in China. The new deal signals that this 14-year prohibition has come to an end, meaning we will likely see more esports competitions on China’s mainstream TV channels in the future.
LGD Gaming ends five-year Dota 2 partnership with PSG
On September 7th, Chinese esports organisation LGD Gaming announced that it had ended a five-year partnership deal with the French football team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). The PSG.LGD brand has now ended, and the team will return to LGD Gaming when it competes in the upcoming The International 2023 in Seattle from October 12th-29th.
However, PSG signed a new partnership deal with Qatar-based Dota 2 team Quest Esports on October 5th. The team will compete at The International (TI) 2023 under the name PSG.Quest.
The end of the deal marks an end to an excellent run for PSG.LGD over the last five years. The team placed 2nd, 3rd, and 2nd at Dota 2’s The International 2018, 2019, and 2021, respectively. Though the team did not win a TI championship, It was still one of the best Dota 2 teams in esports history, winning over $18m in prize money from 2018-2023.
AORUS sponsors Weibo Gaming, OPPO sponsors JingDong Gaming
On September 20, Chinese esports organisation Weibo Gaming (WBG) announced that it signed a sponsorship deal with hardware brand AORUS. The brand will become the special partner of WBG during the League of Legends World Championship 2023.
In addition, Smartphone brand OPPO also announced that it signed a sponsorship deal with JingDong Gaming (JDG), becoming its official partner during Worlds 2023. Financial terms of these deals were not disclosed.
Four Chinese teams — JDG, WBG, LNG and Bilibili Gaming (BLG) — will represent League of Legends Pro League (LPL) and compete in Worlds 2023 from October 10th-19th. We are likely to see more commercial brands partnering with Chinese League of Legends teams at Worlds 2023.