Tencent, the biggest gaming company you've probably never heard of, is investing $15bn into eSports

CrossFire, Clash of Clans and League of Legends

Tencent, arguably the world’s biggest gaming company, is planning a $15bn investment into the eSports industry over the next half a decade, a stamp of confidence that the competition platform is set to grow.

The Chinese media giant that found its feet building messaging apps is scarcely known in the west but is set to pummel money into the Chinese eSports market to help build the phenomena. This drive that will also see the building of eSports theme parks, claims dotesports.

The Asian continent and China in particular, are already world leaders in eSports popularity, eclipsing growing western interests at the moment. Tencent, which owns the one of world’s most played first person shooter CrossFire, a game often likened to Counter-Strike, eSport staple League of Legends and SuperCell, the developer of Clash of Clans (a big earner on mobile). It has further stakes in Western companies like Epic games and Vivendi too. PCGamesN has compiled a full refresher on the company here.

Caixin Global reports that Tencent has “accelerated” its eSports plans. The company went on to predict to 220 million of the world’s 335 million eSports players will be based in China post-2017. To make the investment back, Tencent will crack open the market to sponsors and partners keen to bite into the audience.

The wider, and western implications of the push remain to be seen, it is unlikely rivals will be content to see Tencent to dominate in the most populous eSports nation however.

Comparatively eSports revenues dwindle in comparison to the traditional sports market, Deloitte in 2016 claimed that year that if the global revenues of $500bn were to triple in 2017 (which is entirely possible), it would still only be worth a 1% of the wider sports market.

Find more about the eSports sector at The Drum's dedicated news stream.

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John McCarthy

John is an entertainment marketing reporter at The Drum. He writes about the amazing marketing stories coming from the movie, TV, music and video game industries. He's also the hunt for the weirder trends in marketing and advertising.

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