Chinese smartphone brand OPPO has signed a multi-year partnership with video game publisher Riot Games, marking its first significant foray into the gaming and e-sports arena.

With this partnership, OPPO becomes the exclusive official global smartphone partner for the League of Legends World Championship, as well as the Mid-Season Invitational and All-Star Event. The deal begins with the 2019 World Championship, which opens today in Paris, and will continue through to 2024.

In addition to player awards and sponsored coverage segments, the company is also planning consumer promotions, including giving away all-access trips to all three events.

OPPO Vice President and President of Global Marketing Brian Shen said in a release: “As a consumer-centered brand, OPPO always seeks the right way to communicate with young people, our target audience. This is a great move for Riot and OPPO; the partnership will allow us to continue to strengthen our bond with the young as we join them in celebrating the victory of each game.”

The brand is already a sponsor for traditional sports ventures such as FC Barcelona, Wimbledon, and the International Cricket Council.

It joins Riot Games’s other global League of Legends partners, including Mastercard, State Farm, Secretlab and Alienware. Luxury fashion brand Louis Vutton also recently joined the list, announcing it will be designing in-game skins and a trophy case for the world champion’s cup.

Interest and investment in gaming and e-sports has been steadily rising, with many brands keen to claim a share of this rapidly growing sector.

A recent survey of senior APAC marketers by the World Federation of Advertisers found that a third (32%) of respondents have already invested in video gaming or e-sports in the last 12 months, but more than three quarters (78%) expect to invest in the near future.

And market intelligence firm Newzoo predicts global e-sports revenues to hit US$1.1 bn this year, an increase of 26.7% year-over-year. North America will account for US$409.1m of that amount, and China will represent US$210.3m.

In addition, Newzoo finds that in the coming year, US$897.2m of global e-sports revenue (82% of the market) will come from brand investments such as media rights, advertising, and sponsorships.

Sponsorships alone are the highest grossing revenue stream for e-sports and are estimated to bring in US$456.7m in 2019; merchandise and tickets are expected to exceed the revenue of publisher fees for the first time.

Sourced from, The eSports Observer; additional content by WARC staff