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U.S. Esports Firm Super League Seals China Deal With Movie Giant

Shirley Zhao

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Super League Gaming Inc., a U.S. esports company, is teaming up with Dalian Wanda Group Co. to help host live events in China, the world’s largest gaming market by players.

The alliance, announced Tuesday by Super League Gaming’s Chief Executive Officer Ann Hand, will allow the Santa Monica, California-based firm to organize video-gaming tournaments in more than 700 movie halls owned or operated by the Chinese conglomerate. The theaters will become esports venues hosting live events, Super League said in a statement.

“What Super League is all about is bringing in technology -- when you marry that up with real-estate infrastructure like Wanda, we can now mainstream esports,” Hand told Shery Ahn in a Bloomberg Television interview.

While esports is still taking off globally, China is an emerging power with more than 400 million gamers fueling viewership comparable to U.S. pro sports. Estimates of the global size of the market vary, but Hand said in September that it could be worth $3 billion in 2023. The industry’s revenue streams are about the same as those for traditional sports, including sponsorships, advertising, merchandise, ticket sales and media rights.

“Super League will bring a new theater and esports experience to the millions of Chinese esports fans and players,” Jian Huang, CEO of Wanda Cinema Games, said in the statement.

Super League Gaming, whose shares have plunged about 74% since listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange in February 2019, previously signed another pact with ggCircuit, which operates more than 700 gaming centers worldwide.

The Wanda group, founded by billionaire Wang Jianlin, operates businesses ranging from property, finance to culture. Its cinema arm under the culture group owns Wanda Cinemas Games, which signed the agreement with Super League Gaming.

--With assistance from Anna Luk.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shirley Zhao in Hong Kong at xzhao306@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sam Nagarajan at samnagarajan@bloomberg.net, Dave McCombs

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