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商业 - 科技

职业电子竞技赛事成大牌赞助商新战场

John Gaudiosi 2013年11月08日

职业电子竞技赛事越来越流行,吸引的参与者和观众越来越多,广告价值一路走高。包括可口可乐、英特尔等公司在内,越来越多的大牌公司开始赞助这些赛事。

    2013年将被视为电子竞技(Electronic Sports)的转折点,全球电子游戏顶尖高手将捉对厮杀,竞争巨额奖金。到今年年底,会有超过1500万美元的奖金分发给各支电子游戏代表队和各种锦标赛。职业电子游戏比赛正在打破每一届全新全球锦标赛的记录。收看职业高手开打各种经典游戏,如《英雄联盟》( League of Legends),《星际争霸II 》(StarCraft II),《魔兽争霸》( Dota 2)和《使命召唤:黑色任务II》(Call of Duty: Black Ops II) 等的千万粉丝也开始吸引向传统体育迷推销产品的同类赞助商。

    可口可乐公司(Coca-Cola)正是进军电子游戏市场的最大品牌之一。上个月,《英雄联盟》世界杯在斯台普斯中心(位于洛杉矶中心城区的多功能体育中心——译注)举办。就在这个座无虚席的大赛现场,可口可乐公司宣布,零度可乐(Coke Zero)将赞助一个全新的小联盟系列比赛,它将成为游戏选手晋级职业选手的预备赛事。

    可口可乐公司游戏部主管马特•沃尔夫说:“我们与Riot公司的合作表明了我们对这个领域的重视程度。零度可乐与《英雄联盟》携手,同时与Riot合作开始一个全新的系列业余比赛将会给玩家们带来一些特别的东西,并在国际体育界将电子竞技提升到全新高度。通过与Riot合作为玩家开辟一条晋级职业选手的道路,我们希望为充满活力、激情四射的玩家们带来一些真实而独特的东西。”

    尽管电子竞技早在1997年左右就开始萌芽,但直到2007年Justin.tv生活频道(生活视频创建和分享网站——译注)横空出世,同时Riot游戏公司在2009年推出了免费的《英雄联盟》后,它才迎来了突飞猛进的发展。据电子游戏研究公司Newzoo的总裁彼得•瓦尔曼称,全球绝大多数玩家玩的都是“多人联机在线竞技游戏”(MOBA),即多支参赛队伍在虚拟场景中捉对厮杀。50%的玩家在亚洲,另外一半则来自全球各地。瓦尔曼表示,全球12亿玩家中有8500万人玩的都是这种游戏。他说:“我们预计今年《英雄联盟》的总收入至少能达到3.5亿美元。”

    Riot公司称,每个月有3200多万人会参加五人一队的对战。每天的活跃玩家有1200万人,参赛的峰值人数能达到500万。毫无疑问,这使《英雄联盟》成了世界上最流行的游戏。同时,这种火爆也让很多人开始关注起竞技游戏领域来。欧洲运动联盟(European Sports League)、世界电玩大赛(World Cyber Games),美国竞技游戏联盟(Major League Gaming)和英特尔极限大师杯赛(Intel Extreme Masters)都已将《英雄联盟》纳入自己的赛事,同时与Riot公司合作在全球各地全年推广。

    2013 will be seen as a turning point in the evolution of eSports, or Electronic Sports, which pit the world's best video game players against one another for huge cash prizes. Over $15 million in prize money will be distributed through video game leagues and tournaments by the close of this year. Professional video gaming is shattering records with each new global tournament. The millions of fans who tune in to watch pros play video games such as League of Legends, StarCraft II, Dota 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops II are starting to attract the same type of sponsors that market to traditional sports fans.

    Coca-Cola (KO) is one of the biggest brands to enter eSports. The company used the League of Legends World Championship at the sold-out Staples Center last month to reveal that Coke Zero will sponsor a new minor league series that will serve as a place for gamers to compete in before going pro.

    "Our partnership with Riot symbolizes how serious we are about the space," said Matt Wolf, head of gaming, The Coca-Cola Company. "Pairing Coke Zero with League of Legends and collaborating with Riot on a new amateur series will bring something special to the players and help elevate eSports to a new level in the world of international sports. By working with Riot to create a road to the pros, we hope to deliver something authentic and unique to a vibrant and passionate player community."

    Although eSports has been around since approximately 1997, it hasn't been until recently with the 2007 debut of Justin.tv (now Twitch) and the 2009 launch of Riot Games' free-to-play League of Legends that things really accelerated. According to Peter Warman, president of video game research firm Newzoo, the majority of gamers around the world play the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game that pits teams of champions against one another within a fantasy setting. Fifty percent of the players are in Asia, and the other half come from the rest of the world. Warman says that 85 million of the 1.2 billion gamers worldwide play it. "We expect the total gross revenues of League of Legends to be at least $350 million this year," says Warman.

    More than 32 million players engage in the team-based five vs. five combat action a month, according to Riot. There are over 12 million active players a day with a peak concurrent rate of 5 million gamers engaging in the game. Without a doubt, this makes League of Legends the most popular game on the planet. And this popularity has opened a lot of eyes to the competitive gaming space. Organizations like the European Sports League (ESL), World Cyber Games (WCG), Major League Gaming (MLG) and Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) have incorporated League of Legends into their events, working with Riot to make the overall season have stops around the globe.

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