League of Legends World finals tickets gone in seconds, showing how e-sports continues to boom in China
The latest data estimates around 560 million Chinese – or seven in 10 of the country’s online population – are gamers, on average spending US$143 annually on games
Tickets for this year’s upcoming League of Legends’ World Championship – being held in Beijing next month – sold out within seconds of going on sale on official channels, with touts reportedly already reselling them in some cases for twenty times face value.
League of Legends, a computer game where multiplayers battle it out against enemies and kill monsters online, is considered the world’s most-watched video game.
The World Championships attracts millions of fans watching the action unfold online, and only the very luckiest will be in Beijing National Stadium on November 4 to actually watch the best players on the planet battle it out live.
Tickets worth between 280 yuan (US$42) and 1,280 yuan sold out instantly, while one 480-yuan ticket reportedly changed hands for 13,000 yuan.
League of Legends was developed by Riot Games, which is majority owned by Chinese tech giant, Tencent.
Tickets were quickly cropping up on Taobao, the online shopping site owned by Alibaba Group, with
online store operators asking for chunky deposits first, before balloting the final prices, at what are expected to be hugely inflated prices.
Wang Yue, a Beijing games developer and League of Legends fanatic, said: “No tickets were left just a minute after the official sales started on Wednesday morning.
“I’m hugely disappointed, but I’ll try my luck over the next few days to see whether I can find a ticket at a reasonable price.
“At worst I’ll watch the games online – but the live atmosphere is what I was after.”
The immediate sell-out of final tickets reflects just how massive e-sports – professional gamers competing live against other teams, in front of thousands of spectators – has become in a country where competitive gaming numbers are exploding.
The latest data from intelligence firm Newzoo estimates around 560 million Chinese – or seven in 10 of the country’s online population – are gamers, on average spending US$143 annually on games.
China is already considered the world’s biggest gaming market, worth US$24.4 billion a year.
“E-sports is becoming an important part of all publishers’ strategies, and will continue to gain mainstream traction, with viewers and players booming in number, and investments being poured in by professional sports organisations,” says Zhang Jiang, an analyst from Macquarie Group.
“Medium term, I expect e-sports to gain Olympics status, and long term mobile e-sports will continue to gain followers, catering to a broadening audience as virtual reality and augmented reality technology becomes evermore sophisticated, offering dynamic viewing experiences.”