GZ Charge Parent Org Reportedly Buying LoL LPL Slot
Nenking Group, the parent organization of the Guangzhou Charge in the Overwatch League, has bought out a slot in the LPL previously owned by eStar Gaming. The news was broken by FOMOS reporter Kenzi, and Nenking will presumably be announcing a rebranding of the team. They will compete in the 2021 LPL season alongside the rest of the franchises for the next League of Legends season.
Nenking’s First Expansion Outside of Overwatch
Nenking Group is not known for anything in esports aside from the GZ Charge and this expansion into the LPL and LoL is definitely a forward thinking play. They were a part of Blizzard’s initial group of expansion teams for the 2019 season, and have operated the Guangzhou Charge ever since.
The news, as of yet, is still just a rumor, but once confirmed it’s unclear what the team will be called. After all, they can’t use their Overwatch League branding – not only does Blizzard have strict rules about those names not being used in another league, this is another franchised league, and from a rival publisher.
Another first for this move is that this is the first time an organization that was spun up to manage an Overwatch League franchise has expanded into another esports title.
Estar did not have a great first year in the LPL – they are only one year old and they finished at 16th with an abysmal 3-13 record. The sale of their slot would likely recoup any losses that the organization feels they could have spent in the league, but it is unusual that they would drop out so soon after going for a franchised slot in the LPL. That organization’s future is uncertain.
The GZ Charge Have Done Well – Can Success Strike Twice in the LoL LPL?
However, the Nenking Group has shown aptitude in managing the GZ Charge that could very well carry over to the LoL LPL – while the franchise hasn’t exactly won any championships, they have become a fan favorite due to their branding as well as how they market their players.
In the 2019 season, the Guangzhou Charge finished 9th overall, with a 15-13 record. They defeated the Chengu Hunters in the Play-in tournament for the playoffs, but fell to the Seoul Dynasty in the Semifinals. In the 2020 season, they finished 14-7, second in the Asian League, and 5th overall in the League. They fell in the 2020 playoffs losing to both the Seoul Dynasty and the New York Excelsior in the Asian division, meaning their playoff hopes were dashed two years in a row.
However, their consistent performance in the regular season shows that at least the team does have some chops in getting results out of their roster. Whether that carries over to a potential LPL roster, where the league is extremely competitive, remains to be seen.