Allan Zhang, General Manager of the Mobile Esports Department of Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group and Chief Brand Officer of Honor of Kings, announced at the Tencent Global Esports Summit that Chinese social media platform Weibo has acquired Honor of Kings team TS Gaming. Furthermore, Chinese leading short-form video company Kuaishou has acquired Honor of Kings team YTG.
While the financial terms of both deals were not disclosed, YTG was expected to sell its Honor of Kings team for an initial bid price of ￥61M RMB ($8.82M USD) in June.
TS Gaming has rebranded as WB.TS, while YTG is rebranding as KS.YTG. Both teams have adopted new team logos, and will retain their franchising spots in China’s top Honor of Kings competition, the King Pro League.
For TS Gaming and Weibo, this acquisition represents a major development for the business following TS’s victories at the 2020 King Pro League (KPL) Spring Split, as well as last week’s Honor of Kings World Champion Cup (KCC) at the Beijing Cadillac Center. As a reward for its victory at the KCC, the organization took home ￥13.4M ($1.93M), the lion’s share of a ￥32M ($4.6M) total prize pool.
Sources closed to TS Gaming told Pandaily that the acquisition of TS Gaming by Weibo started in March, even before TS won the KPL Spring Split.
Earlier this month, Weibo acquired TS Gaming’s QQ Speed division, as well as the franchising spot at Tencent’s top QQ Speedesports league, the QQ Speed S League, for which Zhang is also responsible. Now, Weibo has fully acquired the whole organization.
Zhang also mentioned at the summit that the KPL will add two flexible slots in the league, which will allow the top two teams in the KPL G-League, the development league within the Honor of Kings competitive structure, to compete in the top-ranked KPL. Additionally, it should be noted that the original 16 KPL teams will not be relegated to the KGL.
“Sixteen teams in the KPL was actually not enough, considering how significant a presence Honor of Kings has in China”, Zhang explained to Pandaily at the summit.