League of Legends World Championship concludes in Shanghai

Society & Culture

A crowd of 6,000 in Shanghai watched the finals of the event known as “Worlds” — the League of Legends World Championship — a sign of the remarkable strides esports has made in China.

South Korean side DAMWON (DWG) defeated China’s Suning 3-1 over the weekend to claim the 2020 League of Legends (LoL) World Championship at Shanghai’s Pudong Stadium, which was hosting its first major event.

A crowd of 6,000 was in attendance to watch the event known as “Worlds.”

Favorites DWG started the final strongly, grabbing victory in the first match, but Suning fought back in the second, with Bin (Chén Zébīn 陈泽彬) breaking a world championships record with a quintuple kill.

A close third game followed before the Korean side smashed Suning in the fourth and decisive match to claim a 3-1 victory.

DWG finished Shanghai with a 34-3 record. Its victory means that the LoL title is heading back to Korea for the first time since 2017. The previous two iterations of the competition have been won by Chinese teams Invictus and FunPlus Phoenix, neither of which made it to the tournament this year.

LoL is an esport that continues to grow in mainstream popularity in China. The fact that Shanghai authorities gave the esport first dibs on the brand new Pudong Stadium is evidence of LoL’s rise.

According to a report by Newzoo, an esports analytics company, the global esports market is now valued at more than a billion dollars. China has become the biggest esports market in the world, outstripping the United States and South Korea. 

The Chinese market is now valued at $385 million.

Following the final loss, Suning announced KFC and car manufacturer Roewe as sponsors for the team. 

Esports got further recognition earlier this year as “esports professionals” and “esports operators” were listed as official jobs by the central government.

The League of Legends World Championships will return to China next year.


Li Quanhai elected as World Sailing boss

World Sailing Li Quanhai

World Sailing announced Lǐ Quánhǎi 李全海 as the newly elected World Sailing president at the organization’s General Assembly on Sunday.

The Chinese candidate edged Denmark’s Kim Andersen in the second round of voting between the member states.

Li received 68 votes to Andersen’s 60.

Li, who has been a board member within the organization, is reportedly backed by Chinese property developer giant Evergrande, which has offered $10 million in sponsorships to the governing body that has been struggling for cash.

Li is the first Chinese president of World Sailing.

David Graham, World Sailing CEO, said in a statement, “I warmly welcome Mr. Quanhai Li as President of World Sailing; it is a great advantage having already served for eight years on the Board. Our new President is joined by a very strong set of Vice-Presidents who have a wealth of experience as former Council and Committee members. The future of World Sailing is in very capable hands and I look forward to working with our new Board. World Sailing’s elected Board work incredibly hard and I take this opportunity to thank the outgoing members for their huge efforts over their term.”


Gao Fengwen passes away

Gao Fengwen

China’s former national soccer coach Gāo Fēngwén 高丰文 passed away last Tuesday at the age of 81. 

The Liaoning native had a long playing career at Liaoning FC and was a fixture in the national team in the 1960s.

After finishing his playing career, Gao moved into youth team coaching before working his way through the different national levels to the men’s senior team.

Gao led the Chinese men’s soccer team to its first-ever Olympic Games appearance in Seoul in 1988.

However, a solitary draw against Tunisia and two losses against Germany and Sweden sent Gao and his team home in disappointing fashion.

Gao would then lead his team to the AFC Asian Games’ semifinals in 1988, only to lose in extra time to rival South Korea.

A disastrous two years in the job would follow. After missing out on qualifying for the 1990 World Cup due a late Qatari goal, China would later crash out under his watch at the Asian Games.

Resigning after the tournament, Gao established a soccer school and dedicated the rest of the career to youth soccer in China.

The China Sports Column runs every week on SupChina.