American athletic apparel giant Nike aired a glitzy e-sports commercial in China ahead of the popular League of Legends World Championship that just kicked off in Shanghai in a move to further capitalise on the e-sports mania in the world’s second-largest economy. Titled Next Level , the campaign was created by Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai and is Nike’s first e-sports commercial, according to trade publication Adweek . It depicts a legion of aspiring e-sports professionals joining a special training camp in which they have to endure a series of intense physical workouts to unlock their gaming potential. The commercial comes across as deliberately over-the-top. E-sports players are flown to an island on a jet and train in a spotless hi-tech facility, a trope reminiscent of the training portrayed in the Hollywood blockbuster Hunger Games . Nike has been actively courting e-sports fans in China. The company is an apparel sponsor for China’s most popular e-sports league , the League of Legends Pro League (LPL), sponsoring everything from jerseys to footwear worn by the teams. In 2018, Nike also signed a deal with Chinese e-sports superstar Uzi who appeared as part of the LeBron James’ Dribble & advertising campaign, also created by W+K Shanghai. Uzi, who recently announced his retirement from LPL, was the first e-sports professional signed by Nike. Tencent’s e-sports drama based on CrossFire game is a smash hit Nike’s aggressive push into Chinese e-sports reflects the enormous interest the competitions have generated in the world’s biggest gaming market. According to a government-backed report published earlier this year , e-sports revenue grew 54.69 per cent year on year to 71.9 billion yuan (US$10.6 billion) in the first six months of this year. The report also said the number of e-sports consumers grew 9.94 per cent during the same period to 483.96 million, with the figure including all internet users who were exposed to any kind of e-sports content during the space of one month. A separate report by another research group previously suggested that China’s e-sports revenue already exceeded 100 billion yuan in revenue last year. E-sports has also received backing from many local governments in China. The capital of Beijing recently unveiled a number of subsidy schemes as part of an initiative to turn the city into an e-sports hub. The commercial first aired online September 30, timed for the group stage of the League of Legends World Championship in Shanghai. The tournament is enormously popular in China, with an estimated 104 million fans having watched online last year to see Chinese team FunPlus Phoenix win the finals. In its messaging to the e-sports sector, Nike has emphasised the need to care for the health of professional e-sports players. Before this new ad, the company released a short web documentary detailing the strain that long hours of training, combined with the sedentary lifestyle of gamers, can have on LPL players’ health. Nike boasts that it can help players train more smartly by implementing specific reflex-focus exercises. Ironically, e-sports star Uzi cited diabetes and shoulder pain as reasons for his retirement in June . Nike’s new ad retains many of the same health themes but portrays them in a much more hyperbolic way for comedic effect. Uzi also makes an appearance in the ad as a mentor to the aspiring e-sports professionals.