So why’s Jay doing this? One reason is simply that he’s a fan of the game. He has been known to stream his own games for devoted fans, and he’s also appeared in promotional matches and at other League of Legends events in China and Taiwan. Some reports suggest Jay intends to be the captain of his new team – which he has renamed J Gaming – so he might even appear in some professional games (although that would probably be unwise, as by most accounts he is not particularly good at the game).
But Jay has actually been a tech investor for a while now, and it would be naive to assume that he bought TPA just for the love of the game, so to speak. So why else did he buy it?
Branding – Jay has pissed off more than a few fans by renaming TPA, since the “Taipei Assassins” name has been around for years and the team even won a world championship under it. But it’s likely that beyond just stroking his ego, Jay sees a cross-branding opportunity here. He can use the team, now branded under his J Gaming name, to promote his music and other entertainment products to League‘s global player base (the game has 67 million monthly active players, many of them in China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia). And of course, he can also promote his competitive League of Legends team to his own massive global fanbase, boosting up its value for sponsors.
Investment – Investing in a group of young video gamers might seem like a strange idea, but the value of competitive League of Legends teams has been skyrocketing over the past few years as viewership climbs (last year’s world finals saw 36 million viewers – a record for any eSports event). Recently, even new and unsuccessful organizations have been selling their professional spots for seven-figure sums, which is impressive considering that just a few years ago even the best teams were virtually worthless. It’s not clear what Jay Chou paid for TPA, but if the team performs well, he can expect its value to climb swiftly as global eSports viewership likely continues to increase.
Platform – As of now, J Gaming (formerly TPA) is only a League of Legends team, but Jay Chou can also potentially boost his new brand’s value by expanding into other eSports, like Starcraft and Dota 2. Many of the world’s top League of Legends teams have branched out into eSports organizations with teams competing across a variety of games, and there’s no reason J Gaming couldn’t do the same.
It’s worth pointing out that Jay is also in good company when it comes to investing in eSports. Jack Ma and Alibaba recently announced plans to host a new major eSports tournament and other eSports events in China, for example. Wang Sicong, the famous son of China’s richest man, has also made significant investments in eSports, and owns his own team that competes in China’s League of Legends professional league.