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Inside Tencent’s Peace Elite League Summer Split Final in Shanghai

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Hongyu Chen

On Aug. 20, Changsha-based Peacekeeper Elite team TEC won the Peace Elite League (PEL) Summer Split Final championship at Shanghai Oriental Sports Center and took home ¥5M RMB ($687K USD) in prize money, the lion’s share of a ¥11.24M ($1.54M) total prize pool. The event was hosted by China’s largest game publisher, Tencent, in conjunction with Chinese esports tournament organizer VSPO. The Esports Advocate attended the event as the only Western esports media outlet, and spoke to Head of Peace Elite Esports Business Tiger Xu and Head of Peace Elite Marketing Business Edwin Zheng. 

The PEL 2023 Summer Split was sponsored by Chinese smartphone brand OnePlus, e-commerce platform Jing Dong, fast food chain McDonald’s, chewing gum brand Stride, energy drink brand Luhu, and ice pop brand Ice Factory

“Compared to other esports titles (Honor of Kings, League of Legends, and Dota 2), Peacekeeper Elite (PUBG Mobile in the West) is closer to reality,” Zheng told TEA. “ Peacekeeper Elite could partner with plenty of non-endemic brands in the game, from fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands to car brands. They all have different application scenarios.”

In fact, Peacekeeper Elite used to partner with multiple car brands such as Tesla, Lotus, and Maserati, and made the in-game cars become branded cars. In addition, Zheng also told TEA that the game has changed all in-game restaurants into McDonald’s as it has become one of the sponsors of PEL.

“For brands and sponsors, partnering with PEL and Peacekeeper Elite provides a high return on investment,” Zheng said. “McDonald’s and PEL provided a co-branded set meal in the country this summer, and [it] quickly sold out. PEL star player Zhu ‘Paraboy’ Bocheng also collaborated with the brand and became a manager of a McDonald’s for one day.”

Zheng emphasized that brands could partner with the Peacekeeper Elite ecosystem from different angles: in-game implant, esports competitions (PEL), and professional esports players. “In the past few years, PEL has partnered with over 30 brands, and 5-6 of them are signing long-term partnership deals, including Jing Dong,” Xu added. “We used the concept of in-game airdrop into the e-commerce platform Jing Dong, and promoted our sponsors’ products on Jing Dong on July 17, which we called ‘Airdrop Shopping Festival.’” 

For Peacekeeper Elite, the next major event will be the Hangzhou Asian Games, as the game will become one of the official medal titles. Speaking about Hangzhou Asian Games, Xu confirmed to TEA that globalization is an unquestioned and determined goal for the Tencent Peacekeeper Elite team.

“Becoming a part of Hangzhou Asia Games esports titles is a recognition for Peacekeeper Elite as a sport, we will continue to invest in esports competitions and keep partnering with our traditional sports, including Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), F1, and Chinese Basketball Association (CBA),” Xu said.

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Hongyu Chen

Hongyu "Eddie" Chen serves as conduit from China to the rest of global esports scene as the only Chinese journalist living in China while writing for Western media outlets. For the last four years Eddie served as the China esports correspondent for The Esports Observer and Sports Business Journal. He is a bilingual graduate of MA Business and Marketing and a certified BEng Electronic and Communication Engineer.

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