FunPlus Phoenix Partners With L’Oréal Men Expert, PUMA Sponsors TOP Esports

Last week was a busy time for China’s League of Legends esports on the business level, due to the 2020 League of Legends World Championship (Worlds 2020) beginning on Friday. Two qualifying League of Legends Pro League (LPL) teams, TOP Esports and LGD Gaming, have signed multiple non-endemic brands to power their teams in the last few days of the competition.

Meanwhile, several non-Tencent-related esports titles are still suffering in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic without guidance by game publishers, and recovering because teams and the community itself are taking up the slack. After months of waiting on player transfers, all Chinese Dota 2 teams have confirmed their new rosters for the year of 2020-2021, and the Dota 2 scene embraced the domestic competition, China Dota 2 Pro Cup, which 10 Chinese Dota 2 professional teams competed in and was hosted by organizer Imba TV.

Among the top stories in China’s esports industry: esports organization FunPlus Phoenix partnered with L’Oréal Men Expert, PUMA, and Semir, and renewed its partnership deal with social network Bixin; TOP Esports signed sponsorship deals with FAW-Audi, An Mu Xi, and PUMA; Overwatch League team Chengdu Hunters ended its partnership deal with esports organization Royal Never Give-Up, and esports organization JingDong Gaming opened its Peacekeeper Elite division.

FunPlus Phoenix Partners With L’Oréal Men Expert, Renews Partnership With Bixin

On Sept. 20, Chinese esports organization FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) announced that its League of Legends division partnered with L’Oréal Men Expert for a social media campaign. The campaign will be for the L’Oréal Men Expert online T-Mall store, featuring six FPX League of Legends players in a commercial, which was posted on the FPX social media account.

On Sept. 23, FPX also renewed its strategic partnership deal with Chinese social network Bixin. FPX CEO Chun Li attended the signing ceremony, and finalized the deal with a representative from Bixin. The deal includes FPX’s talent training program and Bixin‘s esports activities.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bixin is the largest Chinese social network for gamers. It allows players to pay others for play sessions. It also has sponsored Chinese esports organizations such as Royal Never Give-Up, and Invictus Gaming. Sicong Wang, the founder of Invictus Gaming and his VC Pusi Capital owns 2.05% shares of Bixin’s parent company Shanghai Yupaopao Information Technology Ltd.

During the last week, FPX also signed separate partnership deals with global apparel company PUMA and Chinese sportswear brand Semir. The two apparel brands will not be featured on FPX’s League of Legends team jerseys due to Nike being the exclusive apparel sponsor for League of Legends Pro League (LPL).

FAW-Audi, PUMA, and An Mu Xi Sponsors LPL First-Seed TOP Esports

Last week, the Chinese esports industry saw the business impact of winning the LPL first-seed in Worlds 2020. As the first-seed of LPL, Chinese esports organization TOP Esports (TES) signed three major non-endemic sponsorship deals, including global apparel company PUMA, automaker FAW-Audi, and Chinese yogurt brand An Mu Xi.

Financial details of these deals were not disclosed.

Like the partnership deal with FPX, PUMA’s logo will not be featured on TES’ League of Legends team jerseys due to Nike sponsorship deals with LPL. Audi’s iconic “four rings” will be featured on the left chest, and An Mu Xi on the right shoulder, during Worlds 2020.

An Mu Xi is a yogurt brand owned by Chinese dairy giant Yili Group.

Source close to TES told The Esports Observer that the PUMA sponsorship will also include the organization’s Honor of Kings division.

TES is owned by Chinese sports retail company Top Sports, which is the retail partner of international sportswear brands such as Nike, adidas, PUMA,  and The North Face. The company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2019, and operates over 8,000 offline outlets across mainland China.

Chengdu Hunters End Partnership With Royal Never Give-Up

On Sept. 19, the Chinese Overwatch League (OWL) team Chengdu Hunters announced that the team has terminated its partnership with Chinese esports organization Royal Never Give-Up (RNG).

Chengdu Hunters was founded in 2018 by Chinese live streaming platform Huya as one of four teams with a home venue in the city of Chengdu.

Other Esports Business News:

  • On Sept.21, Chinese esports organization JingDong Gaming announced that the company has decided to operate a division in Peacekeeper Elite. JDG competes in the LPL, and will act as the second seed at the Worlds 2020.

  • On Sept.20, Berlin-based esports organization G2 Esports announced that the company signed a sponsorship deal with Chinese hardware brand Lenovo Legion. The brand will sponsor the organization’s League of Legends, Rainbow Six, Rocket League, Fortnite, and sim racing teams.

  • During the media day broadcast Monday, Riot Games announced that Mercedes-Benz as the exclusive automotive partner of Worlds 2020, All-Stars, and the Mid-Season Invitational in the next several years. The brand will also serve as the sponsor for the trophy presentation ceremony, and will be featured in-game during the competitions.

  • On Sept. 23, Chinese esports organization LGD Gaming announced a sponsorship deal with gaming laptop brand ThundeRobot. The deal will be exclusive for the organization’s League of Legends team during Worlds.

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