November 28, 2021

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The Sports Fanatics

Esports Fans Shave Heads, Drink From Toilets to Celebrate China Win

Followers ran outside in impromptu parades, with the most fervent jogging naked and carrying team banners. Many others posted videos of themselves obtaining their heads shaved or drinking from bathroom bowls — any outlet for the pleasure of victory.

Even though the celebrations ended up decidedly analog, the sport they have been rejoicing was digital. Hundreds celebrated in the streets and in university dormitories soon after midnight Sunday when Edward Gaming (EDG), a experienced esports group primarily based in Shanghai, took the crown of the 2021 League of Legends Planet Championship in Reykjavik, cash of Iceland, in accordance to movies posted on social media.

Sixth Tone was unable to identify where by these celebrations took position.

Staged by American video game developer Riot Games, the League of Legends Environment Championship is one particular of the esports world’s most prestigious tournaments.

“It is the most international esports competition in China, with the longest history,” Wang Qunkai, an esports commentator based mostly in Shanghai told Sixth Tone. “It draws in the most attention from Chinese audiences.”

EDG turned the third Chinese-owned esports workforce to earn the world championship due to the fact the country started off competing in 2012. Preceding victories have been secured by FunPlus Phoenix in 2019 and Invictus Gaming in 2018. All three teams have international rosters but are Chinese-owned and have bulk Chinese gamers.

This year’s remaining, aired concerning 8 p.m. on Saturday to close to 1 a.m. on Sunday, broke esports streaming data in China. In excess of 80 million folks viewed broadcasts of the final Tencent Video clip and Weibo, respectively, in accordance to domestic studies, creating it the most-watched “League of Legends” match at any time.

“League of Legends,” a approach recreation exactly where two groups of 5 heroes experience off to destroy the other’s foundation, has been just one of China’s most well-known movie game titles given that its formal 2011 start in the place. With in excess of 100 million Chinese enjoying the game by 2017, the substantial participant base is supported by 29 China-based mostly servers, in comparison with just one particular in North The united states.

EDG was the underdog in the matchup towards South Korea’s DWG KIA, which gained the title past calendar year in Shanghai, but was able to turn the tables just after dropping two games in a row in opposition to the South Korean workforce.

Considering that its founding in 2013, EDG had by no means in advance of progressed further than quarterfinals in the globe championship. Even so, the group has developed a enormous admirer foundation in China many thanks to their charisma, according to Wang Qunkai, the esports commentator.

“People respect their resilience even with the fact they usually ended in the quarterfinals,” Wang claimed. “Now, several sense their decades-long hold out has not been in vain.”

Editor: David Cohen.

(Header graphic: Team members of Edward Gaming celebrate just after winning the League of Legends Planet Championship finals in Reykjavik, Iceland, Nov. 6, 2021. Clive Rose/Riot Game titles Inc. by means of Persons Visible)