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Last week, due to the upcoming $33M USD (as of this writing) Dota 2’s The International, several partnership and sponsorship deals were signed between brands and esports teams. The tournament organized by American Dota 2 developer and publisher Valve Corporation, will be the first-ever esports tournament held in China to exceed ¥100M RMB ($14.3M) distributed to the winning team. 

Among the top stories: Drodo Studios announced seven tournament partners for its $1M Auto Chess Invitational; Russian esports organization unveiled its China- exclusive logo and team jersey for the upcoming Dota 2’s The International; DouYu extended its partnership deal with PSG.LGD and signed a long-term partnership deal with Vici Gaming; and tournament organizer VSPN partnered with the Shanghai government to build its own esports venue in the city.

Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China, including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.

Drodo Studio Announces SevenTournament Partners for $1M Auto Chess Invitational 

Credit: ImbaTV

On August 7, Drodo Studio, the original developer of Dota Auto Chess and Auto Chess, announced seven tournament partners for the upcoming Auto Chess Invitational. The seven tournament partners include GLL, ESforce, Funease, VNG, Sin Esports, League of Videogames Professionals (LVP), and ImbaTV

ImbaTV will host the China qualifier with nine slots, as well as the grand final of the tournament in Shanghai. The Europe and North America qualifiers will be hosted by GLL, with each region having four slots. Sin Esports, VNG, Funease, ESforce, and LVP will host the Korea (four slots), Vietnam (one slot), APAC (six slots), CIS (two slots), and Latam (2 slots), respectively.

The Auto Chess Invitational is a global Auto Chess competition with $1M total prize pool, co-hosted by Drodo Studio, Long Mobile, and Chinese production company ImbaTV. The competition will be hosted in Shanghai from Oct. 25-27. On March 15, Drodo Studio partnered with ImbaTV and Long Mobile to independently develop a mobile game version of Auto Chess. Right now, multiple game publishers have created their own auto battler games, such as Valve’s Dota Underlords, and Teamfight Tactics by Riot Games. Even though Tencent fully owns Riot Games, the Chinese conglomerate developed its own auto battler mobile game called Chess Rush and added an auto battler game mode in the Honor of Kings system. Unveils China-Exclusive Team Jersey and Logo for The International Shanghai


On August 8, Russian esports organization unveiled its China-exclusive team jersey and logo on Chinese social media Weibo. The new team jersey and logo were designed by Quberten Studio, and will make their debut in the upcoming Dota 2’s The International Shanghai. 

The brand and team logo features a panda with a Chinese phrase “威劈,” which means “strong fight.” The panda is a classic and popular Chinese symbol; the Overwatch League Chengdu Hunters’ brand and logo also feature a panda. 

In addition, the team jersey can be bought online, and will be available for purchase at the Mercedes-Benz Arena during The International.

According to the announcement, this operation is a marketing strategy for to enter the Chinese market. Roman Dvoryankin, the general manager of, stated that “China is our core strategic market, we respect the Chinese culture.” 

DouYu Partners With Vici Gaming

Credit: Vici Gaming

On August 7, Chinese livestreaming service DouYu signed a long-term partnership deal with esports organization Vici Gaming’s (VG) Dota 2 team. DouYu’s brand and logo will appear on VG’s team jerseys for the upcoming The International Shanghai. In addition, the two organizations will promote their content through social media and livestreams. 

Sources told The Esports Observer, the deal is similar with the long-term partnership between DouYu and LGD Gaming’s Dota 2 team PSG.LGD. On August 6, DouYu and esports team PSG.LGD extended their deal into a long-term partnership. 

Other Esports Business News:

Credit: VSPN
  • On August 8, game publisher Valve announced the prize pool distribution for The International 2019 Shanghai. The winner of this tournament will receive 45.5% of total prize pool, which is more than ¥102.5M ($14.6M) . In some ways, it has become the first ¥100M ($14.2M) winner prize tournament in Chinese esports history.
  • On August 13, Chinese esports production company Versus Programming Network (VSPN) announced that it has partnered with Shanghai Huangpu District to build an esports venue around the shopping area Xintiandi. The venue will be completed in October, with a size of 1,500 square meters. 
  • On August 12, Chinese esports organization AG announced that it acquired a regular slot in Tencent’s King Pro League, a top tier mobile esports competition for Honor of Kings. The slot was originally owned by esports organization Black Ananas. In addition, all players from Black Ananas have joined AG. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Tencent declined to comment at time of writing.
  • On August 9, Chinese esports organization LGD Gaming signed non-endemic partnership deals with beverage company Nongfu Spring and alcohol brand Harbin Brewery. The organization’s  Dota 2 team, PSG.LGD, signed a sponsorship deal with China Citic Bank Credit Card, which will appear on PSG.LGD’s team jerseys during The International. 


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