The corporate warfare behind the S10 finals

Two years later, the League of Legends World Championship trophy returned to LCK (League of Legends Korean Professional League). Although losing to DWG with a score of 1:3, SNG contributed a wave of wonderful operations. Bin played the “five kills” in the second game of the top laner. This is the first time a player has been in the League of Legends world. A “five kills” operation was played in the finals. But in the media interviews after the game, none of the five players and coaches showed a second smile. Bin said, “I didn’t play well today.”

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If you go forward a month, the five players of this team have never been on the stage of the World Championship finals before. Among them, ADC Huanfeng and the top laner Bin are still newcomers who have just entered the LPL (League of Legends Chinese Professional League). For them, becoming a runner-up in the world-class finals should be something they never thought of.

On the afternoon of October 31, the driver of Didi in Shanghai met several waves of customers whose destination was Pudong Football Stadium. After getting on the bus, he couldn’t help but asked us: “Is there a football match there today?”

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Although it is officially stated that players can only enter the venue at 3 in the afternoon, after Titanium Media arrived at the venue at 2 o’clock, the players waiting to enter the venue have gathered on the surrounding streets. Some players simply sit by the flowerbed and start playing games. They were all playing League of Legends mobile games that were only recently publicly tested in Japan and other countries. In harmony, there was an abrupt sound of “timi (Tencent Tianmei Studio)”. Everyone turned their heads-a security guard was also caught Aroused interest and sat next to play “Glory of the King”.

Sitting together but playing different games

Three people sitting together, but playing different games

The more than 6,000 players standing on the side of the road were officially drawn by the League of Legends from 3.2 million players who applied for tickets. Because players need to scan their faces to verify their identity when entering the scene, there is not a rare scalper around the venue chanting tickets.

In 2018, facing the question of “who is iG”, we would still be a little bit convoluted to explain, but this year, when we mentioned the SNG team, we have a simpler explanation: as the name suggests, it is Suning’s LPL gaming. Clan.

After the opening ceremony of S10, two LED screens showed the names of the two teams DWG and SNG. Coincidentally, the two teams that entered the finals were named after the names of the companies behind them: DamWon is a Korean company specializing in headsets, Companies that are engaged in gaming peripherals such as monitors and seats, and the little lion and “SUNING” on the other screen obviously remind everyone watching the game of Suning.

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Since Suning Tesco is also the official partner of the 2020 League of Legends Professional League, the name “Suning Tesco” will be scrolled under the LED screen every time Fenglong is killed in the game. In the first game, the commentary was smooth. Advertised Suning Tesco.

Companies like Suning want to achieve this effect when they enter the e-sports industry. Instead of simply winning or losing, we pay more attention to the commercial battlefield outside of the game. The commercialization is done well, and the number of people entering the game will make the plate bigger and bigger. In SNG, we have seen the first template for companies entering the game. .

In an interview with Titanium Media App, Lin Qing, assistant general manager of Suning E-sports Club, stated that although Suning Group has not set specific goals for SN E-sports, it has clear points in its long-term plan. This year, they have exceeded the quota. Mission, “We (SN E-sports) made a three-year plan in 2017 and 2018. We expect to be able to stand on the world stage to show the club’s style in 2021. This year is equivalent to entering the world one year earlier. Match and entered the final stage.”

Suning’s investment finally blossomed

Talk about one of the protagonists of this final: SNG was formerly known as the League of Legends Professional League (LSPL) team TBG. At the end of 2016, it was purchased by Suning Group and renamed “SuNingGaming”, and scored first in the LSPL spring competition. LPL.

The story from the Suning Group’s internal perspective is that Suning acquired Dragon Ball Live that year. One of the branches was a small division of e-sports. This department was doing some club and overseas club operations. With this opportunity, it promoted e-sports in disguise. development of.

On October 8 this year, SNG defeated the G2 team with a record of 5 wins and 2 losses, becoming the first LPL team to advance to the top 8 of the 10th League of Legends Global Finals (S10). On October 25, SNG won by 3 1 defeated the TES team and entered the S10 finals.

Titanium Media inquired about the data of Qimai and found that just looking at the iPhone data, the downloads of App will show an upward trend on the night that SNG wins every game, especially in the finals on October 25th. App downloads far exceed the average downloads and are the highest in the month. (Plus the data on the 31st)

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This effect is inseparable from Suning’s timely “coin” marketing. That night, launched a special edition of e-sports Super members in the App-buy a Suning member season card worth 49 yuan and get a League of Legends coupon worth 50 yuan. , New users can get 10 yuan off with Suning payment.

In 2019, Suning Group divided the SN E-Sports Club from the Suning Sports section to the Suning Group Consumer Electronics Group. The official positioning obtained by Titanium Media is explained as follows:

Suning E-Sports Club belongs to Suning Tesco and becomes the fourth professional club of Suning Group. It also belongs to the Suning Sports Professional Club League with Jiangsu Suning Football Club, Italy Inter Milan Club and Jiangsu Suning Women’s Football Club., PP Sports, PP Video and other resources under the group jointly create Suning e-sports strategy.

Regarding this behavior, Lin Qing explained to the Titanium Media App that, behind this, Suning Group has its own strategic thinking, and the Group hopes that in the future, e-sports can feed back the entire Tesco (e-commerce platform) industry chain.

Suning has already taken action. According to Suning’s National Carnival press conference on the 26th last month, on Double Eleven this year, SN e-sports was officially put into the “big sports marketing” section of the PPT. The official statement is:

“Suning e-sports uses the form of watching, playing, chatting, and buying, and through multi-industry linkage with, Suning Finance, Suning Sports, etc., to open up sports entertainment marketing links and accurately acquire sports crowds.”

According to the quick response speed of after entering the finals of SNG, after being transferred to, the linkage between the two is much smoother.

Two years of investment is finally blooming, Suning took advantage of the hot iron and began to test the idea of ​​feeding back e-commerce and retail business with e-sports traffic.

butWhat the fruit of this flower will be, what the conversion rate of this traffic will be, and how much real money the SNG runner-up can bring to Suning is still unknown.

Does the enterprise naming the team lose money?

As the dark horse that emerged from the group stage, some players commented that SNG got the 2018 iG team script.

Like Wang Sicong at the time, Zhang Kangyang, the son of Zhang Jindong, chairman of Suning Holding Group, also stood in front of e-sports fans through his team’s excellent results.

Not only when SNG was promoted to the semi-finals, it said that it would send 100 million Suning users on Double Eleven. On October 25, when SNG reached the final, Zhang Kangyang also posted a Weibo saying that SNG would draw 100 iPhone12s after winning the championship. There were 510,000 reposts, but because they did not win the championship, these 100 iPhone12s should not be sent out.

From a commercial perspective, the difference is that Wang Sicong’s investment in the iG club has a stronger personal nature, and his business with Wanda Group is not much intertwined. In addition, the e-sports club has low financial returns, team members and changes in performance. For many reasons, the huge traffic after the e-sports team wins can only be icing on the cake, and it is difficult to send money in the snow. This is reflected in the end of Wang Sicong’s personal investment project, Panda Live.

In 2017, LPL proposed coalition reforms and abolished the promotion and demotion system. Seats have become something that can be settled with money, dispelling corporate concerns about the performance of e-sports teams.

In this year, SNG entered the LPL with the first result of the LSPL spring competition. The special significance of this matter is that in 2016 when LPL produced the idea of ​​”alliance”, SNG was the first “corporate naming club” to settle in. “——Unlike companies that only chose to sponsor clubs and sought to be revealed in the team uniforms in the past, the brand was directly exposed in the team name and logo.

Later, with the announcement of the LPL alliance, acquired the LPL team QG and renamed it JDG (JDGaming), and Bilibili acquired the IMay e-sports team and renamed it BLG (Bilibili Gaming). Formed the TES (formerly TOP) team and Fun Plus Games to form the FPX team. Li Ning acquired the Snake team last year and changed its name to LNG (LiNingGaming).

This wave of corporate investment in e-sports clubs pays more attention to the linkage with their main business and the exposure of the brand to the target audience, so that young people can know, see and hear them.

Among them, compared with companies in real estate and other fields, e-commerce platforms and e-sports industry have a higher degree of overlap with target audience portraits and smoother monetization channels:

The purchasing power of the post-90s population has become the core driving force of the consumer market; iResearch’s “China E-sports Industry Research Report 2020” shows that in 2020, among the 520 million Chinese e-sports users, users aged 25 and below Accounted for 60.1%.

In an interview with Jiemian News, Lin Qing said that the core goal of Suning E-sports is to implant the impression of “brand youth” into consumer groups.

LPL is also trying its best to meet the demands of companies. The easiest thing to perceive is that the game commentary does not shy away from the brand names of these teams during the game-SNG is called “Suning Team” and JDG is called “JD Team”. After a game, the brand name can be called dozens of times, which sounds more real than sponsoring a variety show.

For the team, in the early stage of establishment, backed by corporate resources, they can focus on performance, that is, more relaxed cost requirements have more room for the selection of coaches and players.

Lin Qing said that when the SN e-sports performance was not outstanding, some of the resources and cooperation of Suning Group have already generated some commercial income, and this commercial income may have been able to rank among the top 5 and top 6 of the entire league. Level up, “If there is no Suning Group, we may be like many clubs in the commercial sector, in fact, the state of falling behind.”

At the same time, Suning Group spread out Suning stores in capital cities across the country and most first- and second-tier cities in 2018, and also gave SN e-sports club some publicity.

He told Titanium Media that 40% of SN e-sports income is currently commercial, such as sponsorship, 40% of league subsidies, 20% of free players’ rental and sales, and the rest are some relatively scattered income.

Jiemian News initially calculated an account for the e-sports club. Even if the income from sponsorship and alliance subsidies is added, the annual loss of the first-line e-sports club will still reach 10 million yuan. But for, such a cost may be It is equivalent to the naming rights of a party, and even less than the consumption subsidy of a shopping festival.

In this way, companies invest money and the team feeds back, and this business seems to be winning without losing money.

But it is worth noting that the favor of sponsors and young people is based on excellent results: Take SNG sponsors as an example, decided to become their partner after the SNG breakout group match, while KFC and Roewe It was two days after SNG won the semi-finals that he stepped on the dot and became a sponsor of SNG.

According to ECO krypton body combing, among the 14 sponsors of DWG and SNG, half of the sponsors entered the game during the competition.

In addition, the LPL seat purchase fee is not a small expenditure, and with the development of LPL, the barriers to entry have also increased. According to industry insiders, the current seat price of LPL is about 150 million to 200 million, and some will even be higher.

On the way to the profitability of the e-sports club, companies have to stick to it for a while. I believe that more and more examples of companies in the e-sports circle will appear in the future.

Finally, to share a small detail, Zhang Kangyang’s Weibo profile was originally “Vice President of Suning Holding Group, Chairman of Inter Milan Football Club”. After SNG entered the S10 finals, his profile quietly added “Chairman of Suning E-Sports”. A title.

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Zhang Kangyang, who was born in 1991, has always kept a low profile in the mainland. After returning to work in Suning after 2015, news about him has happened in the sports circle:

In June 2016, Suning Group, which acquired 70% of the shares of the veteran Italian football club Inter Milan, appointed 5 executive members to the 9-member Inter Milan board, and Zhang Kangyang served as the director of the Inter Milan club.

In 2018, Zhang Kangyang officially became the chairman of the Inter Milan club. Strictly speaking, he had not yet passed his 27th birthday.

Previously, the person in charge of SN e-sports was Li Qi, vice president of Suning Tesco Consumer Electronics Group. Now, Zhang Kangyang’s behavior to modify the profile represents a high probability that this e-sports business will be taken over by him.