Huya Secures Chinese Broadcast Rights for LCS, LEC

Chinese livestreaming platform Huya has signed a deal with Riot Games to become the exclusive broadcast partner of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and League of Legends European Championship (LEC) in China for 2020. Having previously signed a three year deal to be China’s exclusive broadcaster for Riot’s South Korean pro league, League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK), Huya is now the only platform that will broadcast all four major leagues in China.

This move is the next step in Huya’s strategy to bring Western content to its platform in China. Last year, the company partnered with Team Liquid to broadcast and translate live its players’ streams for the Chinese audience. For the second time now, a company has partnered first with Team Liquid before signing on with Riot for the LCS (Honda did so last year).

While Twitch remains the dominating force in streaming in Europe and North America to the point where exclusive broadcast deals are almost non-existent today in both regions, China’s esports livestreaming market is much more competitive. While Huya will broadcast all four regions during the regular season, Bilibili reportedly won the exclusive rights to the League of Legends World Championship, paying $113M USD for a three-year contract.

Riot Games parent company Tencent Holdings has invested heavily in China’s streaming platforms over the last few years, spreading capital across multiple companies. The tech giant entered into a share purchase agreement with Bilibili last October worth $317.6M, and in 2018 invested a combined $1.1B in a single month across Huya and Douyu TV.

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