One of the top League of Legends teams from South Korea—Griffin—has signed a deal with the Chinese live streaming service HUYA. The agreement involves Griffin’s players using HUYA to broadcast their gameplay to China. The first such broadcast is scheduled for July 8.
Ever since debuting last summer, Griffin has been at the top of the LCK food chain. The team has consistently dominated the regular season, and while it failed to qualify for Worlds and Mid-Season Invitational, it still made two back-to-back finals appearances.
On top of that, several Griffin starters can make solid claims as the best players in their roles. The three-man core of Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, and Park “Viper” Do-hyeon remains one of the strongest additions to the LCK talent pool.
So why did a team of Korean superstars seek a deal with a Chinese live streaming service?
The answer lies in the numbers. It’s no secret League of Legends is wildly popular in China. The 2018 World Championship, in particular, hit a peak of 205 million Chinese viewers.
It’s not exactly surprising Griffin wants to reach this fan base. They also field competitive teams in Overwatch, Fortnite, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds although these will likely not gain as much traction from Chinese viewers.
How the deal works
Griffin aren’t the first foreign organization to sign a deal with HUYA. Team Liquid also has an ongoing partnership with the Chinese streaming platform. The deal isn’t exclusive either, and Team Liquid’s players can still stream on Twitch for their fans from Europe and North America, so it’s highly probable Griffin will operate under the same terms.
Still, Chinese laws and regulations pose a constant challenge for foreign streamers, so a partner like HUYA is an absolute godsend if you want to reach the country’s fan base. Moreover, this service occasionally provides real-time translations, making foreign streams much more accessible to local viewers.
When you look at it from this angle, the Griffin-HUYA deal is a win for all parties involved.
Image courtesy of Riot Games.