HUYA Partners With Team Liquid To Be The Teams Official Streaming Partner In China
Team Liquid, one of the world’s most valuable eSports teams, partnered with the Chinese game streaming platform, HUYA, the “Twitch of China” to broadcast its players live stream from Europe and North America to fans in China. This eSports gaming partnership is the first for HUYA with a western team. It also gives HUYA another avenue into the rapidly-growing North American eSports marketplace, which is estimated at 300 million dollars.
“As the biggest game streaming platform in China and the only Chinese game streaming service in the NYSE, we are keen to explore our participation in esports both domestically and internationally,” stated Huya vice president Ziyang Zhao.
While only select streams are available, they will be translated and available in real-time for Chinese viewers. The goal of the strategic partnership is to not only create new and exciting opportunities for Chinese fans but also allow those fans the ability to access content from Western organizations that would usually be banned in China.
While the Chinese audience has been increasing since 2015, there has not been a specific demand from the Chinese market for eSports content. However, because many of the fans are already part of the 100 million active HUYA users, signing a long-term contract with Team Liquid will encourage further growth while also creating unique content for its users.
“Team Liquid began its search for a streaming partner in China almost two years ago now, but we didn’t get the proper introductions until about a year ago,” stated Team Liquid COO, Mike Milanov, in an interview with The Esports Observer. “Our relationship with HUYA began through mutual connections we had with agencies, teams, advertisers, and publishers in China. Team Liquid and HUYA share the same core values when it comes to fan experience, premium content quality standards, monetization, and long term vision for partnership. This, along with their best in class technology, content offerings, and growth strategy, made them our number one partner choice in China.”
Additionally, according to Milanov, having both partnerships and operations in China will undoubtedly increase the value of Team Liquid as a sports franchise. Newzoo has reported that the Asia-Pacific region accounts for 57% of “esports enthusiasts.”
As of 2016, the Chinese government issued strict regulations on live streaming that greatly impacted a viewer’s ability to access, especially sports content from Western eSports teams and organizations. However, because Team Liquid is partnering with HUYA, a Chinese organization, they can now engage directly with their fans in China legally and seeing as the Chinese eSports fanbase is massive, both organizations see great potential and possibilities as they partnership continues to develop.
“A large majority of our users are huge esports fans, not only of domestic teams but also of international powerhouses,” stated Zhao. “Following the success of our partnerships with Korean organizations, we knew that our next step would be to partner with a western team. Team Liquid was the logical choice because of their incredible history in esports as well as their existing popularity within China. Their brand power, popular players, and professionalism make us confident in the future of this partnership, and we know that the HUYA audience will be excited to have this content on their screens.”
Previously, the greatest challenge for both players and teams looking to broadcast on Chinese platforms has been the reliability of the various streams. Depending on how far the stream is from the closest ingest server, the chances for dropped streams increases. And, unfortunately, China does not have a overabundance of ingest servers, making the video streams even harder to produce.
Additionally, many players are speaking in a language other than Chinese making it very challenging for Chinese fans to engage with the players. However, HUYA, by working with Restream.io, a tech company, can solve all the previous problems.
Team Liquid sees this partnership as pivotal for its growth worldwide. By partnering with HUYA, they can adapt to the rigorous Chinese regulations. The hope is such a strategic partnership will prove to be positive for all involved.