In a press conference on Thursday, it was announced that the World Electronic Sports Games organization, one of the largest esports tournament providers in the world will be staying in the city of Changzhou, China, for at least next three years. Alisports, a division of the Alibaba company which owns the WESG has entered into a 10-year agreement with the city.
The announcement went on to summarize that Alisports and the city of Changzhou had reached an agreement for, “…a strategic 10-year ssports partnership.” Additionally, Changzhou will serve as the host city for the next five WESG events as well as hosting regional finals and the WESG World Finals. The city has allocated the use of the Changzhou Olympic Center, Grand Theater, and Citizen Square for future event considerations.
The WESG 2016 World Finals, which features esports competition in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Hearthstone, and StarCraft 2 and features players from around the world is currently taking place and runs through January 15. The prize pool for this year’s tournament is a whopping $5.5 million dollars. The prize pool for this year's WESG is a part of Alibaba's $150 million investment into the Chinese Esports industry over the course of the next few years.
According to Alisports, they have three main goals in the Esports industry:
- Create and host tournaments for players of all skill levels, both amateur and professional.
- Have Esports recognized on a global level
- Create a unique spectator experience for fans and non-fans alike
Alibaba is one of the world's largest companies to invest into esports with a 2016 reported revenue of $3.751 billion.