Lagardère Sports signs fresh esports partnership amid takeover talk

Lagardère Sports and Entertainment has furthered its presence in the esports market by being appointed as the exclusive agency to market commercial rights to the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ (PUBG) 2019 Nations Cup and Global Championship.

Following a successful collaboration with Korean firm PUBG Corporation to jointly market the commercial rights of its Global Invitational event last year, the new contract will see Lagardère Sports increase its presence in the Battle Royale genre by unilaterally marketing the commercial rights of PUBG’s most anticipated events in 2019.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lagardère Sports will be developing new business opportunities as well as commercialising existing PUBG esports properties. The 2019 PUBG Nations Cup, which will take place from August 9-11, is a global invitational tournament that will see the best players in the world represent their respective countries for a chance to win $500,000 (€446,000).

The 2019 PUBG Global Championship is the concluding event of the professional esports circuit where teams from all over the globe will congregate to compete for the title of world’s best professional PUBG team.

As part of the 2019 PUBG season, a series of pro competitions will be organised throughout the year in three phases across nine regions – North America (NPL), Europe (PEL), Korea (PKL), China (PCL), Japan (PJS), Chinese Taipei (PML), Southeast Asia, Latin America (LPPS), and Oceania. The top performing teams from these nine regions will take part in the Global Championships in November.

Malcolm Thorpe, vice-president of business development in Asia for Lagardère Sports, said: “Over the past year, we have seen an increased appetite amongst game developers to partner leading brands who are able to create tangible value for fans through their products, content, and know-how.

“This fan-centric approach dovetails with many big brands who are eager to depart from tradition to embrace a powerful culture that truly resonates with fans. PUBG’s boundless scale and reach gives us a strong platform to help both endemic and non-endemic brands achieve their marketing objectives.”

Lagardère Sports said the partnership with PUBG marks another significant milestone as it continues to expand its esports portfolio. In the region, the agency has already signed leading League of Legends team T1. In May last year, Lagardère Sports was appointed the commercial sales representative for Team Flash, whose Singapore Fifa team clinched the country’s first-ever esports gold medal.

The agreement also comes amid ongoing takeover speculation concerning Lagardère Sports and Entertainment. The agency’s parent company, French media conglomerate the Lagardère Group, has confirmed that talks are taking place over its future.

It said in a statement: “Lagardère is currently in the process of evaluating the strategic options for the sale of all or part of Lagardère Sports. During this process, Lagardère may have to grant short-term exclusivity periods to potential buyers in order for them to address specific issues or due diligence matters.

“At this stage of the process, nothing is precise enough to be disclosed. Should it be the case, Lagardère would duly inform the market. Lagardère is not commenting on the rumours about specific partners such as Wasserman or Endeavor, which are established and esteemed players of this industry. Lagardère is not commenting on figures either.”