While in Europe, the vast majority of fans watch the highest level esports struggles via Twitch or YouTube, in the east it looks quite different. In China or South Korea, there are many more platforms available that broadcast leading global games. But from now on, League of Legends fans from China will be able to watch the world championship of their favorite game on one platform only.
According to information provided by Beijing News and further reported by the independent journalist Ran, the owners of one of the Chinese platforms, Bilibili, have signed a contract with Riot Games, based on which they will have exclusive rights to broadcast Worlds for the next three years. This agreement is supposed to amount to eight hundred million yuan, or over 100 million euros. In the tender, Bilibili beat other leading Chinese streaming platforms such as Douyu, Huya or Kuaishou.
For those for whom this amount seems astronomical, it is worth recalling that the number of viewers watching through Twitch or YT is at best a small fraction of the number of viewers from China. For example, last year’s edition of Worlds was watched at the peak — excluding Chinese viewers — by 1.9 million concurrent viewers, while the peak the viewership in China alone was over 200 million. It’s easy to count that it’s over a hundred times more, so looking purely mathematically, outside of China, a similar agreement would only amount to just over half a million US dollars. Of course, this is a comparison with a grain of salt, but the fact is that the Chinese audience is the vast majority of all LoL enthusiasts at the highest level. All the more now, when China’s representatives in LoL Pro League won Worlds for the second time in a row.
Bilibili is a publicly traded company on NasdaqGS (BILI) with a market capitalization of over 5.4 billion U.S. dollars.