BEIJING: China’s top-flight soccer league has signed a deal with a local developer to produce online soccer games in its first foray into gaming as it searches for new sources of revenue.
The Chinese Super League (CSL) said on Monday that it had signed a six-year partnership with Beijing-based developer Crazy Sports to develop soccer-related games based on 16 CSL teams and the league through 2022.
Fans of soccer video games such as Electronic Arts Inc’s top-selling FIFA franchise, have been closely watching the CSL’s gaming plans as its deep-pocketed teams have recruited global stars such as Carlos Tevez, Oscar and Hulk in recent months.
EA in June poured cold water on rumors that the CSL would feature in “FIFA 18”, the latest version of the franchise, citing licensing issues, according to sports website goal.com.
Crazy Sports said the CSL deal, that would give it non-exclusive rights, was worth over 100 million yuan (US$15.02mil). Streaming revenue from the CSL-themed games could reach one billion yuan in 2020, the firm’s chief executive Peng Xitao said.
“The development of CSL-themed games is a new revenue growth point for the league,” said CSL’s chairman Ma Chengquan. — Reuters