The journey to create legendsElectronic sports is a form of competitive gaming in which teams of players, usually 4 to 6 people, compete against each other in video games. Just like grass sports, eSports emphasizes teamwork, communication, strategy, and sportsmanship. The Chinese government has publicly backed the growth of eSports, announcing it as an official sport in 2003. Aiming at a world dominance as a source of national pride, China added eSports into its national curriculum in 2019, providing scholarships for top-notch gamers.
With such a commitment, the number of professional players surged from 97 in 2008 to 817 in 2020, bringing home trophies from major tournaments like the LOL World Championship and Dota 2 The International. In terms of tournament prize winnings, China rose to number one for a few years but came off second best behind the United States after 2018.
The big money is pouring inInternet companies are also betting big on this gaming arena. The main reason: a multifaceted market with a variety of revenue streams from tournament ticket sales to team sponsorship, streaming revenue, merchandise, and in-game sales. Tencent's eSports venture is huge and is powerfully entrenched with its own ecosystem. The entertainment powerhouse is not only the major game publisher in China, but also a tournament organizer, an investor in eSports clubs and teams, as well as the owner of China's game streaming duopoly (Huya and Douyu).
Other tech magnates are joining the race too: Google and NetEase focus on eSports streaming and infrastructure; Alibaba holds its own top-tier eSports tournament - World Electronic Sports Games; Kuaishou and Sina have their eSports pro teams. In the meantime, more brands have scoped out the eSports marketing potential and increased sponsorship and ad spending.