Chinese game developer HyperGryph announced that it had signed a sponsorship deal with StarCraft tournament organizer SCBOY for China’s only StarCraft II tournament, World Team League (WTL), becoming its chief sponsor. HyperGryph will provide ￥46,6K ($68K USD) in prize money. In addition, SCBOY confirmed to The Esports Advocate that the total prize pool for WTL this year will be over ￥2M ($291K).
Based in Shanghai, HyperGryph is the developer of RPG tower defense mobile game Arknights. Esports tournaments are considered a marketing method for the game publisher, but this might be the first time in esports that a game publisher sponsors an esports tournament in which the title being played belongs to another game publisher.
The sponsorship from HyperGryph is fortunate for the Chinese StarCraft esports community because the game has shut down its Chinese server due to the termination of the deal between NetEase and its developer Activision Blizzard earlier this year. There are still players and communities in China who love to watch StarCraft II esports competitions, and are willing to host them. SCBOY is a third-party StarCraft II tournament organizer, founded by former StarCraft professional Yifeng Sun and shoutcaster Xudong Huang.
In addition, on Feb. 12, a month after the China server closed, Chinese StarCraft II player Li “Oliveira” Peinan secured a historic win at IEM Katowice 2023, becoming China’s first StarCraft II world champion in the past 20 years. His inspirational win fulfilled the dream of many Chinese StarCraft fans, and brought commercial value and hope to the esports ecosystem.