As the old saying goes, it’s impossible to make an omelette without breaking some eggs. Last week, China’s esports industry saw some valuable new opportunities and partnerships as well as some serious punishments following the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) and League of Legends Development League (LDL) match-fixing investigation.
In addition, Chinese esports organization Royal Never Give-Up eventually won the LPL Spring Split against FunPlus Phoenix. The team will represent the LPL to attend the League of Legends global event – the Mid Season Invitational (MSI) in Iceland.
Among the top stories in China’s esports industry: Tencent Esports signed a strategic partnership with Hubei Province to bring more esports opportunities to Wuhan; South Korean esports organization DWG KIA signed a partnership deal with Chinese digital marketing company CUE Cultural Innovation; Leigod Accelerator signed separate partnerships with ten LPL esports organizations; and the English Premier League teamed up with Tencent and EA SPORTS to co-host FIFA Online 4 tournament, the ePremier League in China.
Tencent Esports Partners With Hubei Province to Host CrossFire Franchise League in Wuhan
On April 16, Tencent Esports, Hubei Province’s Propaganda Department and Wuhan Tourism and Sports Group attended a conference held at the Hongshan Auditorium in Wuhan, signing a partnership to bring more esports opportunities to Wuhan.
Attendees at the conference included Wugui Deng, Executive Vice Minister of the Hubei Propaganda Department, Mars Hou, Vice President of Tencent Games and General Manager of Tencent Esports, VSPN president Ethan Teng, and eStar Gaming CEO Sun “XiaoT” Liwei.
Based on the theme of “Forward Fearlessly, Compete for the Future”, the conference aimed to create a new model of Hubei’s esports development. According to the deal, the goal of the partnership is to establish the city as China’s first-person-shooter (FPS) esports center, and follow up by plans to construct a local Crossfire theme park, in addition to working with local universities in Hubei to introduce more esports talent and professionals into the local esports industry.
As a city, Wuhan plays an important strategic role in the country, geographically. The city is located in the middle of mainland China and has served to connect the Western and Eastern Chinese esports industry. In addition, Chinese live-streaming platform DouYu and esports organization eStar Gaming are both based in the city.
TJ Sports Reveals Penalties Resulting from LPL & LDL Match-Fixing Investigation
Chinese League of Legends operator TJ Sports has revealed the outcome of a two month investigation into the widespread match-fixing chaos in the country’s top and second League of Legends competitions, the LPL and LDL, respectively.
Three players from the LPL and 35 players, managers, and coaches from LDL were issued punishments, from global suspensions to lifelong bans.
Chinese esports organization FunPlus Phoenix player Zhou “Bo” Yangbo was issued a four-month global ban for his involvement in match-fixing. Bo was suspended in March after reports surfaced that he was “coerced” into “participating in inappropriate behavior” in 2020 while playing for eStar Young in LDL. ThunderTalk players Wang “Teeen” Yaoji and Xiang “bless” Yitong were given four month and 12 month global bans, respectively.
The punishments were much more serious in the LDL. The entire roster of Sheng Jie Gaming (SJG) has been disqualified from the league, while its players were given multiple global bans, even a lifelong ban for a player called Wang “Spunk” Zhipeng. In addition, 11 players, coaches, and managers were given lifetime bans.
“The goal of this large-scale investigation by the league is to more thoroughly understand and rectify the situation of match-fixing in the league, so as to eliminate the influence of match-fixing in the long run,” LPL said in a statement.
“I’m sorry,” Bo said in response to the ban on his social media, “I’ve spent this past period of time regretting and suffering, and I have no idea of how I should face my fans. But one should never under any circumstances violate the rules. What’s wrong is wrong. I deeply regret the mistakes I made in the 2020 LDL season.”
Other Esports Business News:
- South Korean esports organization DWG KIA signed a partnership deal with Chinese digital marketing company CUE Cultural Innovation. CUE Cultural Innovation will become the team’s exclusive Chinese agency, and will be in charge of all business and commercial operations in mainland China.
- The English Premier League, the country’s top football organization has partnered with Tencent Sports, Tencent Esports, and EA SPORTS to launch a FIFA Online 4 competition, the ePremier League China later this month. The competition will be the first ePremier League event to be staged outside the UK.