Competitive eSports is the most popular segment of the sports industry. Over the past several years, traditional competitive eSports where the game is played on a PC has become home to a plethora of high-value contests, content and star players, and has a fan base made up of tens of millions of players, with enormous industry value having been created. The Dutch market research firm Newzoo published the 2016 Global eSports Market Report, with analytic data showing that the 2015 global market for eSports yielded revenue for the year of $US325 million and forecasting growth to $US463 million in 2016, of which China and Korea will account for $US106 million, a 43% jump. The two countries together represent an eye-popping 23% of the global eSports market. From the viewpoint of the development of the mobile gaming market, competitive sports is seen as an irreversible general trend, represented by the success of games such as "Clash Royale", "King of Glory" and "Gunfight", while the rapid-fire, uninterrupted releasing of mobile eSports products points to the unmistakable arrival of the era of mobile eSports. According to a report from Chinese market research and consulting firm iResearch, the Chinese mobile eSports market was valued at RMB5 billion for 2015 and is in a growth mode that is outpacing that of the global market.
Shanghai-based media platforms NiceTV, PLU and Hero Spots have great expectations for this joint venture and have expressed much confidence in terms of the future for the VSPN brand and business. VSPN is an internet sports and media franchise, the core business of which is mobile eSports and pan-entertainment content. VSPN's position in the market is that of a mobile eSports and pan-entertainment content publisher, a position that places it a step above its traditional counterparts.
Tencent Interactive Entertainment marketing director Liao Kan attended the launch event and said: "Tencent has an apparent advantage in mobile eSports and is capable of quickly launching any new eSports event. Gaming is the core of our business and VSPN's strength is the result of the maturity of its executive team dedicated to sports and the rich experience in sports management. These two qualities go hand in hand in building a strong foundation for the creation of high-quality sports brands. "
VSPN founder Teng Linji said: "The establishment of VSPN heralds a new era for mobile eSports business in China. Mobile and traditional eSports companies are both sure to do away with the role of sports events contractor and enter into an era where the sports operator handles the hosting of the event "in-house". The NiceTV, PLU and Hero Sports tie-up resulting in VSPN is the world's first mobile eSports operator. What we are going to do is simple, that is, to lead the eSports industry in developing a brand new operative model. "
Hero Entertainment executive vice president Wang Kun said: "Moving over to mobile is the general trend in eSports. Compared to traditional eSports, competitive eSports events are easier to set up on mobile, more convenient, easier to manage, more entertaining and can take place in a more leisurely environment, all of which will serve to attract ordinary users to eSports, and this is the huge attraction of the business model. We will hand HPL over to VSPN and let them run it. They have an expert team with rich experience and this will help HPL become more substantial as a pro league, and bring in more fans who can share in the excitement and the growth of eSports. "
Through closely working with leading gaming producers such as Tencent and Hero Entertainment, VSPN owns the direct rights to host the events, which is very much at variance with the traditional passive event hosts who served the gaming producers. In eSports, content is everything. Only excellent content will gain the attention of users as well as get included in data streams, as a result, having direct control over the copyright of the content as well as the ability to produce their own content will be major factors assuring VSPN's success. VSPN not only won the exclusive operative rights for TGA and HPL, but will also host the playoff championship for the first "King of Glory" Pro League.
Meanwhile, VSPN will also play a role as the "connector" in the eSports industry chain, linking together gaming producers, live broadcast platforms, teams of players and sponsors. VSPN will possess the most professional of event organizing executive teams, the copyright to the best content for rebroadcast, a mature and stable platform that brings together and manages the relationships between the players and that includes all categories of players across the entire spectrum in terms of playing ability, playing frequency and interest, among other behavioral data points. NiceTV, PLU and Hero Sports are all leaders in the industry, each of which have complete teams for the organizing of events and the production of content, manned by seasoned executives who have the expertise in terms of monetization. Given the reputation and experience of the three entities that jointly founded VSPN, the leading advantages that these three leaders have in the industry will be further expanded. Furthermore, through the deepening of resources integration with gaming producers, VSPN can be expected to take the lead in forming a closed-loop business model that brings together event organizing, content production and licensing, a star agency, as well as investment in the advertising side of the business.
From Content Provider to Mobile eSports Operator
The maturity of games focused on the end-user, the rise of mobile eSports, the promotion of sports events by VSPN's three owners and the opportunity afforded by live broadcast, these four factors came together to inject fresh energy into the eSports industry. The diversity of gaming and related eye-catching content has worked to rapidly grow the size of the fan base. According to data published by iResearch, eSports content yielded revenue of RMB2.38 billion in China for 2015 on the back of a 120 million player base, growing at an annual rate looking to be as high as 53.1% and with as many as 50 million fans joining the live broadcast of a gaming event. The huge fan base is composed mainly of young adults from the ages of 19 to 35, a group that can be said to be the main force leading the consumption trend.
Facing the challenge of continuously satisfying the relatively youthful yet enthusiastic audience that make up the eSports fan base, combined with the ever changing trends in how to market and monetize eSports content and events, the young company NiceTV, which was founded less than two years ago, reacted rapidly, by joining hands with another leading domestic eSports content provider, PLU, and taking the lead in building an eSports industry. Earlier, NiceTV had hosted an international brand event for eSports – the International Gaming League (IGL) -- and garnered substantial revenue from a sponsorship by Taiwan-based food producer TongYi Iced Tea. NiceTV also cooperated several times with Finland-based gaming producer Supercell and successfully hosted official competition events for "Clash of Clans" including international rebroadcasts. NiceTV plans to continue working closely with Supercell with an eye to hosting the official competition event for "Clash of Clans: Clash Royale" in China. The eSports reality show "Lying Man", jointly produced by NiceTV and BannerTV, has initiated a new trend of moving eSports into the realm of pan-entertainment. The show is the first reality show related to eSports aired in 2015 and 2016.
As one of the first competitive electronic gaming live broadcast networks in China, PLU shares some eSports DNA with NiceTV. The broadcaster has successfully hosted the first four professional championship playoffs for the Hero Pro League, the championship playoff for the Cross Fire Pro League (CFPL) as well as the Tencent Gaming Awards (TGA).
The founding of VSPN is a milestone that signals that eSports has moved one step closer to gaining the status of a professional sport. Furthermore, the founding of the company opens the way for further commercialization and monetization of events and products, paving the way for the industry to become self-sufficient through the licensing of copyrighted materials, the willingness of the fan base to start paying for access, advertising, sponsorships and other revenue-generating strategies under consideration. As an event operator that has direct control and ownership of the copyright, VSPN has put in place an array of advertising channels which leverage both online and offline opportunities as well as combining traditional "hard sell" advertising with in-game teasers, deploying a model which is much more advanced than relying solely on traditional advertising channels. VSPN plans to make an announcement about the launch of several significant eSports events and, at the same time, has, under wraps, a pan-entertainment reality show based on eSports. The show, the full cost of which is expected to exceed 100 million yuan, is currently in preparation and is scheduled to air on one of the main satellite TV channels.
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SOURCE Hero Entertainment