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Behind the “RNG Three Consecutive Championships”: The commercialization of e-sports is still in the blue ocean, and sponsors are competing to enter the game | Daily Economic News

Reported by reporter Li Jianing and Wen Menghua in Beijing Every time by editor Chen Junjie

After EDG won the championship in November last year, the Chinese e-sports circle once again ushered in a carnival night.

On May 29, the 2022 League of Legends Mid-Season Championship (ie MSI) China Division RNG defeated South Korea T1 to win the championship. This is the third MSI championship in the history of the RNG team. That night, #RNGwinning# quickly became a hot topic on Weibo, with over 3.6 billion views and nearly 900,000 discussions on the Weibo topic.

RNG’s “Three Consecutive Championships” swiped the screen, fans carnival, and many sponsors are also important participants in the commercialization of e-sports. At present, with the huge commercial value generated by e-sports events, the huge e-sports market is attracting the favor of capital and brands. More and more traditional brands have begun to deploy e-sports, trying to capture young people.

“E-sports is a sport for young people, and many traditional brands urgently need to ‘dialogue’ with young people in order to develop and tap potential consumers.” On May 30, game industry analyst Zhang Shule told “Daily” in an interview on WeChat. Economic News reporter said.

It is still in the blue ocean to seize the commercialization of young people’s e-sports

After RNG won the championship, not only the fans, but also the sponsors behind it celebrated.

The reporter noticed that the RNG sponsorship team is huge this time. There are 9 companies or brands including Mercedes Benz, Dongpeng Special Drink, Wahaha, Shuyi Burning Fairy Grass, Huya Live Broadcast, etc., covering hardware equipment, beverages, etc. Food, live broadcast platform and other fields.

Image source: Official Weibo of RNG E-sports Club

Among them, the listed company Dongpeng Beverage (605499, SH) brand Dongpeng Special Drink has sponsored the RNG e-sports team for five consecutive years since 2018. The latest financial report shows that in the first quarter of 2022, the company achieved operating income of 2.007 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 17.26%; net profit attributable to shareholders of listed companies was 345 million yuan, a year-on-year increase of 0.81%. Dongpeng Beverage said bluntly that the company’s continued sponsorship of RNG is for “embracing the young crowd and maintaining brand popularity”.

Another sponsor, Huya Live, not only owns the exclusive broadcast rights for this League of Legends event, but is also one of the shareholders behind RNG. Qixinbao shows that in 2018, Huya Live held a 10.27% stake in RNG’s subsidiary company through its subsidiary. Up to now, nearly 15 million people have subscribed to this final on the Huya live broadcast platform interface.

Image source: Live screenshot

The huge e-sports market is attracting more and more capital and traditional corporate brands. The main brands that used to sponsor traditional sports have begun to deploy e-sports. According to public data, in the 2022 League of Legends spring game, a total of 14 brands have become event partners. In addition to the long-term cooperation with LPL, there are also new franchisees such as JD.com and OnePlus.

It is also another choice for many brands to directly establish a team to compete in the end. Among the current LPL teams, there are many JDG from JD.com, SN from Suning, LNG from Li Ning, etc. The teams invested by these brands also bring exposure and traffic to the brand.

“E-sports is a sport for young people. Many traditional brands urgently need to ‘dialogue’ with young people in order to follow-up development and tap potential consumers. Sponsoring e-sports projects is the easiest way to ‘show’ in front of young people.” Zhang Shule said.

At present, more and more brands are following young people closely and choosing cross-border marketing. For example, this year’s two concerts named Cui Jian and Luo Dayou have been named Jihu Automobile, which greatly increased their exposure with “nostalgic style”. It is understood that on May 24, when Jihu announced the exclusive title of Luo Dayou’s first online concert, the Jihu WeChat index reached 7.22 million, the highest in the past 30 days. Relevant data show that Jihu Auto delivered 1,140 new cars in April this year, a month-on-month increase of 54%.

A variety of marketing methods can bring certain benefits to brand sales.

Back to the esports industry. According to Newzoo statistics, sponsorship will account for 59% of e-sports revenue in 2021, an increase of 1.1 percentage points from 2020.

Zhang Shule pointed out that the e-sports market removes the revenue created by its “endorsement for games”, and its own profit scenarios are scarce. E-sports clubs mainly rely on event bonuses and advertising revenue to survive. “E-sports, from competitions to derivatives, is still in the blue ocean, and there are more business exploration possibilities.”

Is it an opportunity or a dilemma for existing competitions to suspend online competitions due to the epidemic?

RNG’s road to defending the title is not smooth. In addition to facing powerful opponents in other divisions, technical problems have also added obstacles to RNG’s championship.

Under the influence of the epidemic, the RNG team could not go to Busan, South Korea to participate in the offline competition. After consultation, they decided to participate in the online competition at the Shanghai base. However, even though the network transmission has brought the physical space infinitely closer, the physical distance will still cause network delays for the players participating in Shanghai to connect to the Korean event server. The delay, while small, will still have an impact on professional games.

The solution is to use technical means to lock the latency of the Korean venues to 35ms, so that the network latency of the team is the same. However, on May 13, the official website of League of Legends Esports stated that due to the network settings of the venue, the network delay at the Busan site was generally higher than the expected 35ms, and it was decided that the three games that RNG had already played needed to be replayed.

Image source: League of Legends Weibo

Aside from the fairness of this decision and the opinions of all parties, although RNG still won three rematches and finally successfully defended the title, this “rematch storm” also made people think about the feasibility of online e-sports competitions. question mark.

Affected by the epidemic, the 2021 League of Legends Global Finals was moved to Iceland before the start of the game, and there were no spectators at the scene, while another All-Star game of the three major League of Legends events was finally cancelled. In addition to League of Legends, the “King of Fighters” developer SNK announced that its official e-sports competition “SNK World Championship GRAND FINAL” will be completely suspended after two years of suspension due to the epidemic. more or less hit.

Although online competitions will make the organizer lose a series of benefits such as ticket revenue, boost to the local tourism economy, and home-field advantage for local teams, with the ongoing impact of the epidemic, online competitions are already a plan that must be considered by major events. As early as 2020, the LPL restarted the spring season through online competitions, and the first League of Legends Mobile Professional League (WRL), which ended two weeks ago, was also held online.

“E-sports itself is presented through screen projection, which is very different from live viewing of traditional sports events. Live streaming can not only expand the number of spectators, but also make up for the tickets, accommodation, catering, etc. Loss of income.” Zhang Shule believes that online competitions are of great significance for saving the cost of running competitions and increasing the frequency of running competitions, or become the mainstream form of presentation in the future.

However, there are still many problems that need to be solved in order for online e-sports competitions to be fully promoted and accepted by audiences, teams, organizers, etc. The technical mistakes exposed in this MSI are a hidden danger. In addition, the time difference problem faced by teams in different countries, the support for losing home and away games, the psychological adjustment of some players, and the simulation of different competition scenarios, all need to be considered by the team.

Source of cover image: Photo Network-500654211

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