Yesterday, the Beijing Municipality hosted a livestream and official press release announcing their plans for a series of events spanning the rest of the calendar year. They are calling it Esports Beijing 2021, and it is part of their campaign to make Beijing the esports and video game capital of the world.
Honor of Kings World Champion Cup
Secretary of the Party Committee and Director of the Beijing State-owned Cultural Assets Management Center, Liu Shaojain, announced in the press conference that the Honor of Kings annual international competition, the Honor of Kings World Champion Cup would be held at the National Olympic Sports Center on August 28th.
According to the announcement, the event will have a prize pool of ￥50 million RMB that roughly equates to $7.7 million. For an industry that is only just beginning to bounce back from the pandemic, this sort of prize money is insanely high, especially for a partially state-run event.
The event will also be co-hosted by Tencent and tournament organizer VSPN. Other than the date for the final events in Beijing, we don’t know too much about the rest of the esports tournament. We do know that it will feature 12 teams who will compete in the group stage and playoffs to make it to the finals.
Other Esports Beijing tournament announcements
In the same press conference, Liu Shaojain also announced that the VR Esports International Championship, the console esports competition Spark Championships, Tencent’s Call of Duty Masters Season 2 Finals, Valve’s top Chinese Dota 2 and CS: GO competition Perfect World League, and ESL’s Intel Extreme Masters will all be held in Beijing in 2021. These events will also be a part of the Esports Beijing 2021 esports ecosystem.
The Intel Extreme Masters were also planned to be a part of the Esports Beijing 2020 plan last year. However, for obvious pandemic related reasons, it had to be postponed. Despite their plans for 2020 being stalled, they have clearly gone all-in on the esports events for the remainder of 2021. They are even holding the VR Esports International Championship in Beijing. You are more likely to find DOTA betting odds at your local bookies than find VR gaming odds on an esports betting site. VR esports have yet to gain a real foothold in the esports industry, but they seem to be looking towards the future.
Infrastructure and long-term plans
As part of the same announcement, the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area and the Shunyi District announced their policies for the esports company and organizations in venue construction, organization development, rent subsidies, and financial services.
Their plans are not limited to events and celebrations, they are committed to supporting the esports industry as a whole. The rent subsidies and financial services are particularly important for new organisations. Unless you have a major backer, it will take a long time before your team becomes profitable and sustainable, this announcement will allow teams local to Beijing to support themselves without having to abandon esports.