MTG's e-sports firms partner with Chinese streaming platform Huya

FILE PHOTO: The Huya logo is shown on the NYSE boards ahead of the company's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - ESL and DreamHack, both owned by Sweden's e-sports and gaming firm MTG MTGb.ST, have entered a partnership agreement with live streaming platform Huya HUYA.N as the Swedish company seeks to expand in the booming Chinese e-sports market.

MTG said the deal with Huya, which is backed by internet giant Tencent 0700.HK, made the Chinese firm an exclusive digital media partner of e-sports competitions in several Chinese languages and dialects.

It had said earlier this year that talks with Huya over a joint venture to break into the market were terminated.

As part of the deal, Huya will gain exclusive rights to broadcast and distribute big tournaments from MTG’s e-sports companies ESL And DreamHack, the Swedish company said in a statement. The Chinese e-sports market is the largest in the world followed by North America, according to Newzoo. The analytics firm expects global e-sports revenues to grow by 15.7% this year to $1.1 billion (864.9 million pounds).

E-sports, which represents around 40% of MTG revenues, is negatively affected by the coronavirus as it is built around large live events, while the company’s gaming business has coped better.MTG said in March that it expects e-sports revenues to decline by 35-45% in the first six months of the year, with an improved performance in the second half.

The company, which spun off its media and TV business NENT NENTb.ST in 2018, is due to report second-quarter earnings at 1200 GMT.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; Editing by Edmund Blair and Emelia Sithole-Matarise