Chinese Super League invests $15m in six-year video games deal
Developer Crazy Sports hopes football game revenues could reach $150m by 2020
Chinese Super League, the nation's premier soccer competition, has announced plans to create online games based on the sport in a deal worth over 100m yuan ($15.02m).
The CSL has signed a deal with Beijing-based studio Crazy Sports, commissioning the studio to create new video games based on the 16 teams and the league itself, Reuters reports.
The partnership marks the CSL's first foray into video games and is set to last until 2022. Crazy Sports' CEO Peng Xitao believes streaming revenue from these games could raise as high as 1bn yuan ($150m) in 2020.
It's worth noting that the FIFA games currently do not feature the CSL among its rosters. Electronic Arts reportedly hoped to include it in this year's FIFA 18, but this has not come to fruition due to licensing issues. This means Crazy Sports' titles are likely to be the online place Chinese soccer fans will be able to play as their favourite teams.
Crazy Sports hopes to convert over 100m sports lottery users from its previous business to play its CSL games. The league organisers also confirmed plans to make the games and their content available to gamers outside China through European gaming partners such as From the Bench and Soccer Manager.
The aim is the grow the CSL games to the point where they become a healthy new revenue source for the league.
"The Chinese Super League is dedicated to expanding the influence and commercial value of the league. The development of CSL-themed games is a new revenue growth point for the league," said CSL chairman Ma Chengquan.