It was made known to the Oceanic esports community today via Twitter that they would be able to compete in a jaw dropping $100,000 League of Legends tournament. The funds are being posted by a company that goes by the name of New Zealand Champions. No figureheads in the New Zealand esports space were made aware of this tournament until it hit their timelines. This is currently a developing story, as there is little to no information on the event, whilst many are under the assumption that this is either due to poor marketing or that it may potentially be a hoax.
New Zealand Champions, otherwise known as Esports League NZ LTD, was registered back on the 22nd of July this year. Although some thought they had prematurely announced the tournament last month and later deleted it, it’s been made aware to us that it wasn’t organically posted to their Facebook page and was instead created as an advertisement for a set amount of campaign time.
Currently there is only one registered Director of the company, “Qiren Gao”. Qiren is also registered on many other New Zealand businesses such as Hawkes Bay Water Ltd, Ocean Capital Management Ltd, Century Alpaca Group Ltd and more.
After talking with reliable sources in the New Zealand esports space, very little is known about other parties (outside of its commercial partners) currently involved with the New Zealand Champions. Its Twitter account was following suspected staff members, but later unfollowed them once traction started picking up on the account’s announcement.
It would be fair to assume that LetsPlay.Live has had some kind of involvement with New Zealand Champions, but it’s been confirmed to not be the case. A staff member from LetsPlay.Live stated “we are just as baffled as you all are. It takes a lot of communication and discussion to pull something like this off.”
Although Theo Martin, a local Operations and Events Manager, has publicly stated on Twitter “I’m contracting out to them and helping them organise everything. They are legit, but incredibly green. Most of their budget is being pumped into the prize pool.”
Riot Games Speculation
It’s known to many people that to have involvement with Riot Games and tournaments that involve League of Legends, you must receive approval first. Due to the overwhelming allegations of this potentially being a hoax, many were quick to jump on the bandwagon that Riot Games have no idea of the tournament’s existence.
Although they aren’t wrong to assume this, due to poor marketing practises on the New Zealand Champions side, multiple sources have since alleged that Riot Games are aware of this tournament and have given the approval for it to go ahead. With that being said, we have reached out to Riot Oceania for comment to confirm this.
If it has been approved by Riot Games, you would assume that the League of Legends community around Australia and New Zealand will get behind supporting this event. On the basis of the 2019 prize pool for the Oceanic Pro League not being public and previous splits not even reaching $25,000 AUD, this is the highest prize pool Oceania has ever seen for League of Legends.
In a post that was published through New Zealand Champion’s Facebook page, it gave some insight into the tournament and its requirements to compete. It started off with a mission statement which stated “the next level of New Zealand esports is here. Introducing the 2020 League of Legends New Zealand Champions, a 96 team tournament bringing a mind blowing total prize of $100,000 across all players who compete.”
Adding a breakdown of requirements which were,
Noting that registration will be free and for you to stay in the loop with their social media accounts for more information.
It’s also important to note that they have stated all players competing will receive a chunk of $100,000. They have also stated that there will be up to 96 teams able to compete, which is arguably too many, as New Zealand is only home to a minimal amount of competitive players and teams.
In an image posted online by a member of the community, it’s said that the above shows the prize pool breakdown for the tournament.
We’ve noticed that the top six players with excellent academic performances will receive $1,000 per player, which highlights this tournament will potentially have big involvement from high schools around New Zealand. Most valuable player throughout the competition will walk away with $2,000.
Updates: Post Announcement
(16/10/2019) Sources have confirmed with us that the budget for the event sits at around $300K NZD, with the company expecting to be running at a loss here. Included in this budget will be flights for all players to attend the offline finals.
(16/10/2019) New Zealand Champions plan to announce more titles in 2020 for similar events, such as Fortnite, Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six: Siege.
(17/10/2019) New Zealand Champions is being fronted by former a former Chinese government official, who was also involved in the expansion of the LPL (Tencent League of Legends Pro League). Name of said person is unknown at this current stage.
(17/10/2019) Determined to get the event over the line, licensing rights were pad almost immediately by the NZ Champions; who give every indication they aren't afraid to spend where they need to.
Currently there is little information that is public about this competition. It’s clear that their marketing has started off badly, but we are hopeful that more information will be brought to light soon. Here’s The Thing will be working on digging for more information to keep this story running, as this is likely to be a massive step for New Zealand esports.
Stay connected with our social media channels if you wish to stay in the loop with any more information that is made public.