Recently, China’s esports market saw its most significant scandal in current memory: Newbee, the 2014 champs of Dota 2’s The International (TI), was banned for match-fixing.

This is partially an effect of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which is close to breaking 5M cases internationally (4.9 M at the time of writing). TI is Dota 2’s biggest yearly competition, and has been delayed up until 2021, which means a number of Dota 2’s finest teams have lost out on a major source of cash prize this year. While not a reason for bad conduct, compared to China’s League of Legends esports scene, Dota 2 lacks the assistance of a publisher to ensure teams weather this monetary challenge.

Among the leading stories: Tencent Sports will host a $210K USD multi-title esports competition– the World University Cyber league; and Chinese Alcohol brand Harbin Brewery signed a special partnership handle Royal Never Give-Up League of Legends gamer Jian “Uzi” Zihao.

Chinese Dota 2 groups are viewed as a shining star in the nation’s esports market. “CN Dota, Finest Dota,” is a slogan that was commonly spread in the community, as in the 9 years of TI history, Chinese teams have won the champion three times, and have been the runner-up 5 times. Nevertheless, 2014 TI champ Newbee is presently facing multiple match-fixing accusations from the China Dota 2 Association (CDA), production company ImbaTV, and Mars Media.

On May 15, the CDA revealed that the organization received a report on March 12, stating that one of its member teams, Newbee, was associated with match-fixing, and received inappropriate advantages.

After the examination by the CDA, the association validated the report, and delivered a life-long ban to all Newbee gamers and the group manager.

According to the announcement:

CDA mentioned it has given the related proof to Chinese tournament organizers, Chinese Dota 2 publisher Perfect World, as well as Valve.

After the CDA posted the statement, competition organizer ImbaTV and Mars Media launched comparable announcements, stating the 5 Newbee gamers and Feng have actually been provided life-long restrictions to their Dota 2 competitions.

In addition, Newbee posted its own statement, and verified Feng, the group supervisor, was associated with match-fixing. Nevertheless, the organization rejected team players were associated with such conduct.

Newbee stated that the organization was not satisfied with the “verdict,” and that it decided it would make an interest CDA.

Newbee was not only one of the best Chinese Dota 2 teams, but likewise one of the very best carrying out teams on the planet. The organization won the 2014 edition of TI, and placed second place in 2017. According to Esports-Earnings, Newbee is the fifth highest-earning esports team of all time, in regards to cash prize.

In spite of the reality that Newbee and China’s Dota 2 market has involved itself in this crisis, the market still does not have high authority and transparency. Life-long bans are not the standard in esports, and it’s unclear whether the CDA, a non-profit collective of 8 groups (now 7), can ban an original member and its players completely.

Due to the COVID-19 international pandemic, Chinese Dota 2 teams are suffering from an absence of sponsorship and cash prize. Without TI, these groups are losing significant sponsorship value and a major source of earnings. On May 20, Keen Gaming (KG)’s group coach (real name unknown) posted a statement on Weibo that the group is dissolving. KG is also one of the members of CDA.

It promises that the CDA will lose 2 initial members quickly, and potentially more to follow.

On May 13, Tencent’s sports arm, Tencent Sports, announced that it will host a multi-title esports tournament. The university esports competition World University Cyber League (WUCL), includes a ¥ 1.5 M RMB ($210K) reward pool money, and starts May 20 (today).

According to the announcement, WUCL includes League of Legends, Honor of Kings, Clash Royale, Peacekeeper Elite, and “robot-related” esports titles. The competition targets 1,200 college student, and will have a global final in August.

WUCL has a title sponsorship handle Chinese smart device brand Honor. All mobile esports competitions will utilize Honor’s newest mobile phone, the “Honor X10.” The competition likewise has partners in hardware brand ROG, Razer, and gaming chair brand AutoFull.

On May 14, Chinese alcohol brand name Harbin Brewery signed an exclusive collaboration deal with Royal Never Give-Up (RNG) League of Legends gamer Jian “Uzi” Zihao. Zihao will end up being the esports partner of Harbin Brewery. Information of the deal were not divulged.

Harbin Brewery is one of the main partners of the LPL.