Esports

Honor of Kings World Champion Cup to Feature $4.6M Prize, Bilibili Esports Seeking $2.1M Penalty Against Former Player


China’s esports industry has started to move in the second half-year of 2020. For the Chinese Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitive scene, its first CS:GO offline competition in China was announced last week, and several business partnerships for this competition were announced. 

In addition, Tencent Esports confirmed that its Tencent Global Esports Annual Summit will be hosted in Hainan on Aug. 24, and its upcoming Honor of Kings World Champion Cup will feature $4.6M USD in prize money.

There were also a few controversial partnerships and disputes related to Overwatch teams and players last week. 

Among the top stories in China’s esports industry: Chinese tournament organizer Vision Esports announced it will host China’s first CS:GO offline competition of this year, CS Pro House in Wuxi;  Chinese esports organization Chengdu AG signed a non-endemic partnership deal with life service platform 58 Tongcheng; Overwatch team Guangzhou Charge signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Herbalife Nutrition, while player Cai “Krystal” Shilong was the subject of a contract dispute. 

Honor of Kings World Champion Cup to Feature a $4.6M Prize Pool Winner to Take Home $1.9M

Credit: Tencent Esports

On July 10 Tencent announced that its 2020 Honor of Kings World Champion Cup would feature a ¥32M RMB ($4.6M) prize pool, the same amount as last year. According to the announcement, Tencent will provide ¥16M ($2.3M) as the base prize money, with the remaining $2.3M to be generated from the sales of an in-game skin of Honor of Kings’ character Lixin. 

Ten teams from China’s King Pro League (KPL), and eight teams from King Pro League Global Tour (KPLGT) will compete in this tournament. The winning team will take home ¥13.44M ($1.92M) in prize money, while the runner-up will receive ¥5.12M ($730K). 

The tournament will officially start Wednesday without a live audience. Tencent has not announced the date of the grand final. In February, the Beijing government announced that the grand final would be hosted in the city, but due to Beijing becoming the center of China’s second wave of COVID-19 coupled with the Chinese government announcing that there will be no international sporting events this year, the plan will likely change.

The Honor of Kings World Champion Cup is the highest prize money tournament in the Honor of Kings esports ecosystem as well as in the Chinese mobile esports scene. Last year Wuhan-based esports organization eStar.Pro won the tournament and took home the equivalent of $1.9M in prize money. This victory alone landed the team in 7th in TEO’s top esports teams by prize money in Q3 2019.

Hangzhou Spark Owner Seeks $2.1M Penalty Against Former Player

Credit: Hangzhou Spark

On July 14 Bilibili Esports, the esports arm of Chinese video company Bilibili, announced that it filed a request for arbitration with the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission June 15, demanding its former Overwatch player Cai “Krystal” Shilong pay a ¥15M ($2.1M) penalty to the company’s Overwatch team Hangzhou Spark.

According to the announcement, Shilong violated team regulations multiple times and caused damages to the team’s management, brand, and business during his two-year-contract at Hangzhou Spark.

On July 14 Overwatch team Guangzhou Charge announced that Shilong left the Hangzhou Spark and joined the team. In response to this dispute, GZ Charge clarified that the player transfer process between the team and Shilong was completely formalized. The team emphasized that the legal disputes between Shilong and other teams have no relevance to the team.

In other news related to GZ Charge last week, the organization signed a three-year sponsorship deal with U.S. nourishment company Herbalife Nutrition, which will become the title sponsor and partner of the team. 

Though the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, the partnership itself received significant criticism from Western fans, due to Herbalife’s multi-level marketing business model. The Esports Observer reached out to Guangzhou Charge and the organization declined to comment on the situation.

Vision Esports to Host $28K CS Pro House

Credit: Vision Esports

On July 14 Chinese tournament organizer Vision Esports announced it will host a CS:GO offline competition called CS Pro House featuring¥200K ($28.6K) in prize money, between Aug. 4-9, in Wuxi. The competition will be China’s first CS:GO offline event in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of all CS:GO offline events in the country over the first half of the year. 

Japanese contact lens brand SEED, hardware brand SteelSeries, and IPANSON will sponsor the competition, while Gaming chair brand ERGOUP and ZOWIE Gear are official partners. 

The competition will be streamed on Chinese live streaming platforms DouYu and Huya.

Other Esports Business News:

Credit: Dior/ Yu “JackeyLove” Wenbo
  • On July 10 KPL team Chengdu AG (AG) signed a one-year partnership with Chinese live service platform 58 Tongcheng. As one part of the agreement AG will move its recruitment on 58 Tongcheng’s website.
  • On July 10 global luxury brand Dior posted a video on Weibo featuring TOP Esports star player Yu “Jackeylove” Wenbo, describing him as the “brand friend of Dior.” Wenbo wore “Dior X Air Jordan” co-branded shoes in the video, which are priced at more than $12K a pair on the second-hand market.
  •  On July 10 Tencent Holdings announced that it withdrew a lawsuit against Chinese chili sauce brand Lao Gan Ma, and the two companies will partner “for real” in the future.
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