In a move that will certainly shake things up between China-based game companies NetEase and Tencent, the former has planned to invest in a ¥5 billion (around $725 million) esports stadium in Shanghai, China. NetEase is calling it “China’s first large professional e-sports stadium.”
As reported by Technode, the announcement comes from the 2019 China Digital Entertainment Congress (CDEC) on Saturday. NetEase may not have as big of a hold of the esports mindshare as Tencent, as the latter has professional leagues for the incredibly popular MOBA League of Legends, as well as mobile game Honour of Kings, but it certainly has potential to grow its esports portfolio. NetEase currently has the distribution rights for Blizzard Entertainment’s real-time strategy game StarCraft in China and owns Overwatch League team Shanghai Dragons.
At CEDC, President of NetEase’s game business Ding Yingfeng spoke on how Shanghai is an advantageous city to build a major esports arena. “Shanghai has world-class location advantages in terms of incentive policies, upstream and downstream industries, infrastructure, and purchasing power and habits of local residents,” said Yingfeng.
The esports stadium will be built in Shanghai’s western Qingpu District, and will be used to host esports competitions, as well as game development, team building, and talent training. Technode also reports that NetEase has begun the planning and construction process for the park.
So, what can we expect to see being played at NetEase’s esports stadium? The Overwatch League has recently announced that it is committing to bringing Overwatch‘s competitive scene across the globe with a slew of homestand events throughout its 2020 season. While this doesn’t mean Overwatch League 2020 season games will be hosted at NetEase’s esports stadium as there is no date for its opening, it could be the home of the Shanghai Dragons in the future since NetEase owns that team.