China Global Television Network Broadcasts KPL Spring Split Final, Tencent  Issues One-Year Bans for Match-Fixing

The King Pro League Spring Split Final concluded last week, but the event was overshadowed by reports that a second wave of COVID-19 has broken out in Beijing. 

Since June 11, Beijing has reported an increase of 137 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the Public Health Emergency Level has increased from 3 to 2, which forces all offline live events to be suspended once again. 

In February, the Beijing government announced that the city would host the “Esports Beijing 2020” series of events (it didn’t provide any specific dates at the time beyond August), including the 2020 Honor of Kings World Cup and the World Cyber Games, but the recent outbreak could affect that.

Among the top stories in China’s esports industry: China’s state-owned English television channel broadcast the King Pro League Spring Split Final on social media and its app; League of Legends Pro League (LPL) partnered with Chinese e-commerce company Suning; Tencent gave six CrossFire professionals one-year bans for match-fixing; and a Chinese court issued a $12M fine to a former DouYu streamer.

Chinese Network Broadcasts KPL Spring Split Final

China Global Television Network broadcast the final of King Pro League (KPL) Spring Split, the first time that a Chinese government-operated platform has streamed an esports tournament since 2003. The broadcast signals that esports has gained more acceptance from mainstream platforms. CGTN reporter Gong Zhe participated in the event as one of the shoutcasters. 

The event streamed on CGTN’s official app,  and on its Weibo, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Chinese esports organization TS won the final, taking home ¥3M RMB ($420K USD) in prize money, as well as a car provided by KPL sponsor Shanghai Volkswagen.

Tencent Gives EDG and Q9 CrossFire Players One-Year Ban for Match-Fixing

On Monday, Tencent’s CrossFire Union announced that it had handed down a one-year ban to six professional players for their involvement in match fixing. 

Four players are from Q9 Esports Club, and two from Edward Gaming. Four of the players competed in the CrossFire Professional League. According to the announcement, the accusations of match-fixing violations were voluntarily reported by both organizations. Following the announcement of the ban, EDG and Q9 released statements that all players involved had been fired. 

These bans are the latest in a list of actions taken by esports leagues over match-fixing.  In April League of Legends Pro League TJ Sports fined esports organization Rogue Warriors ¥3M ($420K) due to one of its players being involved in match-fixing. In addition, TJ Sports gave the player a 24-month global ban, which included his ability to stream League of Legends-related content. 

Suning Becomes Exclusive E-commerce Partner of League of Legends Pro League, Sponsorship Worth Over $1.4M

Chinese e-commerce company Suning announced on June 12 that its online platform Suning.com became the exclusive e-commerce partner of LPL.

According to Chinese business outlet 36Kr, the sponsorship is valued at more than ¥10M ($1.4M). E-commerce company JingDong was also a participant in the bidding process. 

Sources close to the deal told The Esports Observer that TJ Sports was most interested in  the offline brand exposure that the partnership will deliver. Suning has more than 10K branded retail stores in China. Song Lin, the Co-CEO of TJ Sports, said the company expects the LPL to return to offline play, and generate revenue through things such as ticket sales, on-site merchandise sales, etc. Suning’s retail stores will likely play a role in driving those sales.

Chinese Court Issues $12M Penalty to Former DouYu Streamer for Jumping Ship to Huya

On June 12, the Hubei Province Superior People’s Court ordered former DouYu content creator Wei “Godv” Zhen to pay a ¥85M ($12M) penalty to the streaming platform for violating an existing contract by streaming on rival platform Huya. 

The decision is not the final judgment in the case. Zhen is a former League of Legends and PUBG professional player; he won the 2015 LPL Summer Split Champion one-year after he joined esports organization LGD Gaming. 

On June 2, Chinese esports organization Royal Never Give-Up sued its former PUBG player Zuo “xdd” Zixuan, asking him to pay a ¥50M ($7M) penalty. RNG signed him to stream only on Huya, but Zixuan also streamed on DouYu.

According to DouYu’s financial report for the first quarter of 2020, the company generated a net profit of ¥260.5M ($36.5M). 

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