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Last week was significant for the esports industry in China, as the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) team FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) won the 2019 World Championships in Paris. As a young esports organization founded in 2017, FPX is now the second team from the region to take the global trophy, and has also won the respect of multiple Chinese esports organizations—respect which has already led to new partnerships with non-endemic sponsors. At the end of World Championships, Riot Games revealed that next year’s finals will take place in Shanghai Stadium, a venue with a seating capacity of over 56,000.
Among the top stories: OPPO lights up the 248 meter (813 feet) high Shanghai Global Harbor Twin Towers for FPX, Oishi released FPX-branded chip packets, while SteelSeries and live streaming platform Kuaishou also announced sponsorships with the team.
Meanwhile, VSPN opened its esports venue in the Shanghai entertainment arena Xintiandi, Anker sponsored CrossFire team SV, and Mars Media partnered with medicine brand Voltaren for the Dota 2 Chengdu Major.
Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.
OPPO Lights Up Shanghai Global Harbor Twin Towers for FPX, SteelSeries and Kuaishou Sponsor Team
On Nov. 7, Chinese phone brand OPPO made a social media campaign on Weibo, stating that if the post was reshared 100K times, the company would light up the Shanghai Global Harbor Twin Towers to encourage FPX in the 2019 League of Legends World Championship grand finals. The 100K reshares were reached, and on Nov. 9 OPPO kept its promise and lit up the 248-meter twin skyscrapers.
This is the first time that the Shanghai Global Harbor Twin Towers have put on a display featuring an esports organization. OPPO is a global partner of FPX, and is also partnered with Riot Games for all its international events. After FPX won the championship, Nicolo Laurent, the CEO of Riot Games, took a selfie with the MVP of the tournament, Gao “Tian” Tianyang, using an OPPO brand smartphone.
Reaching the grand finals of the League of Legends World Championships also led to new sponsorship opportunities for FPX. Between Nov. 8–9, hardware brand SteelSeries and live streaming platform Kuaishou signed deals with the organization. Their brand logos were featured on FPX’s team jersey and appeared at the grand final.
Oishi Releases FPX Exclusive Chip for the Chinese Double 11 Shopping Festival
FPX’s victory in the tournament also led to a strong performance in China’s e-commerce sector. A day after the team won the World Championship, China’s biggest shopping holiday, “Double 11,” began at 12:00 am on Nov. 11. An hour after FPX lifted the trophy, Oishi, the chip sponsor of FPX, released three exclusive team-branded flavors on its online shop. According to CNN Business, the Double 11 brought in a record $38B in sales for Alibaba.
The five FPX League of Legends players featured on the bag of chips are based on their in-game role. For example, the jungle player Tianyang and mid player Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang were featured on the “extra hot flavor” chip.
Unlike previous World Championship winning teams such as Invictus Gaming or T1, which had a significant history before achieving their title, FPX is a young esports organization. It was founded in 2017 by former Riot Games designer Li Chun. FPX is currently sponsored by OPPO, Oishi, live streaming platforms Huya and Kuaishou, social media company Bixin, Steelseries, and Chinese restaurant brand Cool Fish.
VSPN Opens Esports Venue in Shanghai Xintiandi
On Nov. 13, Chinese tournament organizer and production company VSPN hosted a ceremony for the opening of its esports venue at Shanghai Xintiandi arena. Xintiandi is an affluent shopping, eating, and entertainment district of Shanghai. Shanghai Huangpu government representatives and executives from VSPN and Tencent attended the ceremony, including Li Yuan, vice director of Huangpu district; Ying shuling, the CEO of VSPN; and Zhang Yijia, KPL Union president.
The VSPN esports venue in Xintiandi will not only be used for hosting esports events, but also for fan engagement and art exhibitions. In addition, Teng Lingji, president of VSPN and Yijia, announced that the venue will become the official place for esports fans watching Tencent’s King Pro League (KPL) and Peacekeeper Elite League (PEL).
Other Esports Business News:
- On Nov. 8, Yunnan-based esports organization RushB signed a partnership deal with hardware brand Taidu. RushB is currently competing in the PUBG Champions League (PCL) in China, and Taidu was the official partner of 2019 World Cyber Games (WCG) Xi’an.
- On Nov. 6, Chinese CrossFire team Super Villain (SV) signed a partnership with charger brand Anker. SV competes in Tencent’s CrossFire Professional League (CFPL) and CrossFire Mobile League (CFML).
- On Nov. 12, esports team Vici Gaming (VG) announced that it renewed its sponsorship deal with live streaming platform Douyu for its VG PUBG division.
- On Nov. 13, tournament organizer Mars Media signed a partnership with medicine brand Voltaren for the Dota 2 Chengdu Major. According to the announcement, the medicine’s pain killer can be used for wrist pain from players.
- On Nov. 10, Riot Games revealed that the finals for the next year’s League of Legends World Championship will be held in Shanghai Stadium. While the venue has a total of 56,000 seats, Riot Games has said in an interview with ESPN that it plans to change the stage structure to pack as many fans as possible into the stadium.
Esports Rising – Nov. 14 | Who Is Attending?
Esports organizations in the likes of Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, Gen G. Game developers, including Riot Games and Blizzard. Non-endemic sponsors such as adidas, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Jack in the Box and more. Sponsored by Lagardère Sports, and presented by Sports Business Journal / Daily, with support of The Esports Observer.