LPL Plans Official TV Series, Auto Chess Ends Partnership With Tencent Games

LPL Plans Official TV Series, Auto Chess Ends Partnership With Tencent Games

Though the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the northwestern region of China, the esports industry hosted the annual China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference (China Joy) in Shanghai, while most of the big international gaming conferences like E3 and Gamescom chose to cancel due to the COVID-19. 

During ChinaJoy, Riot Games and TJ Sports announced that the 2020 League of Legends World Championships will be hosted in Shanghai from Sept. 25 to Oct. 31, and the event will return to China in 2021, with a multi-city tour. In addition, it was revealed that North America will host the 2022 Worlds. 

This new information dispelled the rumor that the 2020 Worlds would be canceled due to the Chinese government’s official announcement to cancel all international sporting events in the country. In addition, TJ Sports also revealed the partner lists for 2020 Worlds.

Among the top stories in China’s esports industry: TJ Sports partnered with Chinese film and television company Youhug to create its own TV series; Tencent announced an end to the partnership with Long Mobile for Auto Chess; HyperX signed a sponsorship deal with Chinese esports organization Q9 Esports Club;  Panasonic collaborated with TOP Esports League of Legends player Huang “Karsa” Haoxuan; and global luxury brand FENDI  teamed up with two FunPlus Phoenix League of Legends players.

TJ Sports Partners With Youhug to Co-Create Official TV Series

On Aug.3 Chinese media company Youhug announced that it signed a partnership deal with China’s League of Legends esports operator TJ Sports. The image that Youhug posted on social media Weibo features TJ Sports Co-CEO Song Lin and Yibo Jin.

Youhug and TJ Sports will co-create the TV drama series for League of Legends Pro League (LPL), China’s top League of Legends competition. More details of the deal were not disclosed.

This is not the first time that Youhug created an esports-related TV series. The company partnered with Tencent and South Korean game publisher Smilegate earlier this year to create a 36-episode drama series based on Smilegate’s FPS game CrossFire. The drama series is called  “CrossFire,” and has been airing on Tencent Video since July 23.

Feedback on the Crossfire drama series has been mostly positive, which might be one of the reasons that TJ Sports decided to partner with Youhug. In May, a drama series called “Falling into Your Smile“ received heavy criticism from the Chinese esports community, which regarded this drama as a romantic story first and foremost, with esports and the LPL as a backdrop. Feng Xiao, head of brand and marketing of TJ Sports, made a public appeal to the Chinese film and television industry asking them to respect the LPL and players because the production didn’t put esports in a good light.

Tencent Ends Partnership With Long Mobile for Auto Chess 

On Aug. 5 Chinese game developer Long Mobile announced that Tencent ended the partnership related to the mobile game Auto Chess, one year after the deal was signed. 

New player registrations and top-up functions of the game have been closed since Thursday, and Tencent will officially close the Auto Chess server on Oct. 9, according to the announcement.

Long Mobile called this “a new beginning” for the game and said that it will run its own server in the future, with the PC version of Auto Chess “coming soon.”

In July of 2019 Long Mobile signed a partnership deal with Tencent, and named the company as the exclusive distributor of Auto Chess in mainland China, fully integrating into Tencent’s WeChat and QQ social media platforms. 

The underdog story of Auto Chess was named the #1 story in TEO’s 2019 Esports Business Stories in China. The game was originally developed as a Dota 2 game modification by a five-man Chinese game studio called Drodo Studio. After it found huge success in the community, it attracted plenty of offers from game publishers like Tencent and Valve. Ultimately the developers decided to partner with Long Mobile and tournament organizer Imba TV to develop the standalone mobile game Auto Chess, and unveiled a $1M USD Auto Chess Invitational. 

HyperX Sponsors Q9 Esports Club CrossFire Division 

On Aug. 3 Chinese esports organization Q9 Esports Club (Q9) announced that its CrossFire division signed a sponsorship deal with hardware brand HyperX. The HyperX logo will feature on players’ team jerseys during Tencent’s top CrossFire competition – CrossFire Professional League (CFPL).

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

In June Q9 closed a ¥100M ($14M) angel investment round led by Chinese angel investors Lei Wen and Chao Liu. The organization was founded in 2015 and operates two major businesses: live streaming and esports. The esports division competes in Peacekeeper Elite, QQ Speed, Call of Duty: Mobile, and CrossFire

Other Esports Business News: 

  • Chinese live streaming platform Bilibili signed a three-year strategic partnership deal with Riot Games for the exclusive Chinese broadcasting rights for the League of Legends World Championship, Mid-Season Invitational, and All-Star event.
  • Tournament organizer ESL and DreamHack signed a one-year streaming deal with Chinese live streaming platform DouYu. DouYu will become the exclusive streaming partner for the ESL Pro Tour’s StarCraft II and Warcraft III competitions in “standard Mandarin and other Chinese languages and dialects.”
  • On July 31 Panasonic collaborated with TOP Esports (TES) League of Legends player Huang “Karsa” Haoxuan to create a social media video campaign on Weibo. The video features Haoxuan and Panasonic’s  “nanoeX” air conditioner unit.
  • On Aug.4 global luxury brand FENDI also made a social media campaign on Weibo, collaborating with FunPlus Phoenix League of Legends players Liu “Crisp” Qingsong and Kim “Doinb” Tae-Sang. The players posed for photos to promote FENDI’s Chinese Valentine’s day activities, wearing FENDI branded apparel and shoes. 

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