Chinese broadcaster Bilibili have secured exclusive domestic broadcasting rights to the next three League of Legends World Championship events. The deal covers Worlds 2020-2022, is worth 800 million RMB, or approximately $113.35M, and was sold at an auction between the major online broadcasters in China, including Douyu, Huya, and Kuaishou, among others.
According to local industry insiders, the negotiated amount is higher than anticipated for such a deal, saying that around 500M RMB (approximately $70M) would be more reasonable, given the ordinarily low conversion rate of engagement to revenue from such streams.
Bilibili stand to win a lot from the deal. Not only is the LoL World Championship one of if not the most watched event in esports, but the Chinese market is also the largest within it. Not counting Chinese viewers, Worlds 2019 broke multiple records, including the one for the most watched match in esports history — 3.9M peak during the SK Telecom T1 vs. G2 Esports semifinal.
Bilibili will also get a great year one on their exclusivity deal, as Worlds 2020 will be held in Shanghai, China, which means an even more active viewership market. The LPL has also won the last two World Championships, and Chinese viewers will more than likely flock to see if their teams can secure the hat-trick.