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By Zhao Runhua / Mar 01, 2019 07:33 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Nike China is now an official sponsor of League of Legends Pro League (LPL), according to a Thursday statement.

Esports, or competitive online gaming, has grown increasingly professional in China in recent years, and LPL is one of its most popular competitions, especially among investors. The Nike China partnership is the largest sponsorship in LPL history, Tencent told Caixin.

Over the next four years, Nike will sponsor LPL apparel and provide “professional and scientific support” to players, according to the statement.

Fans will be able to purchase LPL apparel from Nike starting from the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), which usually takes place in late spring. Nike China and TJ Sports didn’t specify any other details regarding the sponsorship.

Last fall, Chinese esports team Invictus Gaming became a source of national pride after they won a World Championship. The team then appeared in a video compilation by the state-run People’s Daily of China’s “most glorious” moments of 2018 — which many interpreted as Beijing’s formal recognition of esports.

Related: Virtual Sports, Real Stars

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