Bilibili inks three-year contract to broadcast League of Legends in China

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese video site Bilibili said on Friday it had agreed to a three-year contract to domestically broadcast events linked to the world’s most popular desktop game League of Legends, as the esports market in China heats up.

The three-year deal, which would grant Bilibili exclusive domestic broadcasting rights in China for the next three League of Legends World Championship events between 2020 and 2022, is worth 800 million yuan ($113.7 million), a company source told Reuters. Bilibili declined to comment on the price.

China is the world’s biggest game market, and home to some of the world’s top game companies such as Tencent and NetEase. Esports is rapidly gaining traction with the affluent younger generation.

“Gaming is one of the top content categories on Bilibili - of which e-sports is the most active,” Bilibili said in a statement. “It is a trend that cannot be ignored.”

Chinese teams have won the crown of League of Legends World Championships for the past two years, bringing to wider attention to the new sport.

The next world finals will be held in Shanghai in 2020.

Reporting by Pei Li and Brenda Goh; Editing by Stephen Coates