Chinese live streaming platform DouYu has been awarded 30 million yuan ($4.48 million) in a lawsuit against Leyou Network Technology, the parent company of the Chinese esports organization Royal Never Give-Up (RNG), for a breach of live streaming contract.
According to the court decision, Leyou Network Technology has breached the exclusive one-year streaming partnership with DouYu, which was signed on Sept. 1, 2018. Without DouYu’s permission, Leyou Network Technology transferred the operating rights of RNG and the rights to commercially use RNG players’ name and team image to Tiantong Cultural Communications Co., Ltd., while failing to stop RNG’s League of Legend player Liu “Zz1tai” Zhihao from signing a streaming deal with Huya, DouYu’s rival company at the time of writing.
DouYu and Huya are currently entering into a merger with Tencent Holdings.
The court further ruled that Leyou Network Technology also violated the contract by retiring two former RNG players, Yan “Letme” Junze and Liu “Mlxg” Shiyu without confirming with DouYu in a written format. DouYu explained that the newly added players Xiao “LovEZrr” Zhi and Xie “Langx” Zhenying were not comparable to Junze and Shiyu, with respect to performance and influence, resulting in a loss in commercial value.
The lawsuit was filed through the Wuhan intermediate People’s Court, Hubei Province in September 2019. Whereas it is the first case ruled against RNG, it is not the only live streaming dispute and lawsuit in which RNG is involved. Recently, RNG sued its PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) player, Zuo “XDD” Zixuan for failing to abide by his contract and required him to pay a liquidated damage of 50 million yuan ($7.46 million).
RNG is one of the biggest League of Legends teams in China. Most notably, the organization had League of Legends Pro League (LPL) iconic star Jian “Uzi” Zihao, and won the 2018 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational (MSI). The organization is also the first Chinese esports organization who has long-term partnerships with KFC and global automaker Mercedes-Benz.