Following yesterday's announcement regarding LPL's franchising policy, the birth of a new Chinese esports channel is sweeping social media.
Tencent,Riot,PerfectWorld & IPTV found an ESPTV channel for broadcasting esports contents in China. pic.twitter.com/qveb9JdI5d— Sheng Yi (@Marco_YS35) May 1, 2017
Co-owned by Tencent, PerfectWorld, and Riot, it seems these companies are coming together to bring China the optimal esports viewing experience through a new ESPTV channel.
With the emergence of franchising in League of Legends, it's clear that China is looking to turn their competitive gaming culture into a lucrative investment. This ESPTV channel will broadcast the LPL's games and other popular esports beginning as soon as 2018.
The main concern of this progression is immanent monopolization and its immediate consequences on LPL games. Unlike conventional sports, League of Legends has no current monetary restrictions on organizations. Restrictions are meant to keep large organizations from buying out every resource available, allowing for unfair competition.
As the esports industry grows, franchising becomes problematic as we see organizations grow their brands and gain more buying power. The creation of a Riot co-owned esports channel is dangerous because it further centralizes an already unsaturated market, especially following LPL's franchising announcement.
Historically, esports has been a startup industry and League wasn't considered a financially driven competition. With LPL leading the way, the recent growth of esports has slowly pushed many leagues toward ownership and team investments. You can see this in the LCS with NBA teams investing in brands like Team Dignitas, Misfits, and Team Liquid.
Likely, Riot and involved parties will receive some backlash on this announcement. With the LPL's recent moves, at the least there will be push for financial regulation in competitive League of Legends regions.
For now, the other regions will pay close attention to the LPL and how the competitive scene changes with franchising and ESPTV broadcasting. Their success, or lack there of, will determine the decisions of the other major League of Legends regions in the future.
Cover courtesy of cybbet