Sports\Team China

Chinese Super League to develop soccer-themed online games

By Sun Xiaochen | | Updated: 2017-08-21 20:03

As e-sports gain increasing popularity in China, the country's top-flight soccer league looks set to capitalize on the boom after signing a six-year partnership with a domestic developer.

The Chinese Super League announced on Monday that it has reached an agreement with Crazy Sports, a Beijing-based online gaming operator, to give the company the intellectual rights of 16 clubs and the league as a whole to develop and operate soccer-themed competitive games on multiple platforms through 2022.

The two sides didn't unveil the financial terms of the deal, which was reported to be worth more than 100 million yuan ($15 million).

Crazy Sports, which has accumulated more than 100 million users through online gaming and sports lottery services since 2011, will develop various types of CSL products for mobile, PC and TV platforms, and virtual reality devices, while building an online community to allow gamers to interact and compete with each other.

Ma Chengquan, chairman of CSL Company, said the deal will help the league further expand its influence and explore new frontiers in commercial operation.

"To tap into the fast-growing e-sports sector will help raise CSL's public perception to a new level while creating new revenues with additional products in the gaming industry," Ma said at the signing ceremony on Monday.

Crazy Sports will also make CSL games accessible for overseas users through its online service to popularize the league in international markets, Ma said.

Citing the diversity of China's booming online gaming market, Crazy Sports Chairman Zhang Lijun said he remains positive that CSL-inspired products will appeal greatly to sports-loving gamers.

"The market in China has grown mature enough to sustain all kinds of games and it has become certainly affluent enough for sports-themed products. With e-sports regarded as a legitimate competitive event by the sports governing body, I believe the market for CSL online competition is broad and lucrative," he said.

According to the China Gaming Industry Report jointly released in July by Beijing-based Game Publishing Commission and market consultancies CNG and IDC, the sales revenue of China's e-sports market surged 43.2 percent year-on-year to 36 billion yuan during the first half of 2017. This amount is equal to 36 percent of the total income of China's gaming industry during the same period, up 4.2 percentage points from a year earlier.

Statistics from gaming industry consultancy Newzoo showed that there are nearly 2,000 e-sports game organizers in China, including the Information Center of the General Administration of Sports and the local governments of Yinchuan in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region and Yiwu in East China's Zhejiang province.

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