It’s no longer football, NFL, NHL, NBA and rugby jumping into the world of esports anymore as Major League Baseball (MLB) is seems to be doing the exact same thing. The MLB has announced the launch of it’s first esports venture with a Chinese tournament that will feature 8 teams competing in the official baseball game, MLB: The Show.
The competition will take place over three months and will launch in the last quarter of 2019. Players will play across different Chinese cities including Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing and Shanghai. According to the official Weibo account, the league will partner with eight different esports organizations to appeal to fans, and will also host an MLB Experience to help the players who can’t join the league, but still want to experience baseball culture in china.
MLB: The Show was released in March this year and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game is a PlayStation exclusive and obviously simulates a typical game of baseball where the player controls either an entire team, or a single player. Gamers can take control of one of the 30 licensed MLB teams, through different modes for single game, season or franchise.
Shao Yinxin, the director of marketing and media for MLB China said, “By appealing to a younger demographic with games that they enjoy, this will help increase the penetration of baseball into their lives.”
It seems to be rather common practice now for teams of any kind of sports to get involved in the emerging market that is esports. It’s not even common practice anymore to sign up a team playing a completely different kind of game. For example, the football giants Valencia now have both a Rocket League team and a Hearthstone team.
Teams such as Ajax, PSV Eindhover, Sporting Lison, FC Schalke, Wolfsburg and Manchester City have all been involved in esports with FIFA by having teams and players represent their names and brands. However, Schalke also has other ventures such as team Elements from League of Legends fame, and who can forget PSG’s acquisition of team LGD, the famous Chinese Dota 2 team?