Chinese streaming platform Douyu has acquired broadcast rights to esports’ Blast Premier 2020 Counter Strike tournament.
The deal gives the service exclusive Mandarin-language streaming rights in China.
Douyu, which had 163.6 million monthly active users on its platform in 2019, is to broadcast over 300 hours and over 150 matches across the year.
Alexander Lewin, vice-president of distribution and programming at Blast, said: “Our partnership with streaming giant Douyu is further testament to the rapidly growing popularity of Blast Premier in China. The Chinese market continues to play an integral role in the global esports world, and we are delighted to team up with Douyu to entertain millions of Blast fans in China.”
The Blast Premier Series is broadcast in over 150 million homes on linear television with coverage available in more than 15 languages worldwide, according to figures from Blast.
Blast recently secured €12.5m ($14m) in a funding round led by Rocket Software chief executive Johan Gedda.
Blast chief executive Robbie Douek told SportBusiness Media that Gedda’s involvement would accelerate the company’s plans to build its own streaming platform.
It wants to offer enhanced coverage of its tournaments, experiment with new production techniques and create a direct relationship with consumers and fans.
Douek said: “We like working with Twitch and all of our current partners, and we’ll carry on working with them in the short to medium term – maybe even the longer term. But we know that consumers want more.
“We have been watching Counter Strike in the same way for the past six or seven years. That doesn’t make much sense to us. Fans want to have an integrated experience and that’s where we thought there was an opportunity to develop our own direct-to-consumer play. That’s where we’re going to focus our effort.”