Football giant Barcelona are putting together a League of Legends team in the Chinese LPL, according to rumours.
The group already field teams in Rocket League and eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) and are now looking to League of Legends.
Barelona’s LPL move will be ‘made official soon’, according to industry sources cited in a report by 2Playbook.
“The club will be cobranding with one of the existing teams, so that Barca will save the costs of starting the franchise, such as the initial license to be able to compete, which is valued at more than five million euros,” the report states.
The news will come as no huge surprise. Last year, Barcelona entered into an agreement with China-based Riot Games owner Tencent.
The partnership saw the two engage in ‘deep communication’ in order to generate a wider esports presence for Barcelona, so fielding a team in the LPL makes sense, especially as many football clubs in Europe and beyond have targeted the Chinese market in a bid to broaden the reach of their brands.
2Playbook say that this partnership began even earlier than that, with both Riot and Barcelona looking to establish a business plan involving cobranded content, sponsorships and merch ‘to generate new income’.
One option is for Barcelona to strike a partnership with an existing org, or buy their slot.
China is home to some of the best League of Legends teams in the world, including the aforementioned Suning.
The LPL also has a few UK and Ireland casters on its books, including Munchables and Dagda.
Dom is an award-winning writer and finalist of the Esports Journalist of the Year 2023 award. He graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Federation up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and offer esports consultancy and freelance services. Note: Dom still produces the British Esports newsletter on a freelance basis, so our coverage of British Esports is always kept simple – usually just covering the occasional press release – because of this conflict of interest.