The Clash Royale League (CRL) is about to return for its second season, with a prize pool of at least $1M USD—and this time around, Supercell has brought on a partner to handle the majority of the league’s production.
As announced today, South Korean TV network OGN will produce the Clash Royale League for the West and Asia regions (but not China), as well as the eventual World Finals at the end of the season. The newly-consolidated CRL West region represents the first part of that deal, with broadcasts set to begin from the OGN Super Arena in Manhattan Beach, California, in late May.
“Thanks to this partnership, there will be more CRL content and a more consistent and unified viewing experience for our fans all over the world.”
Justin Lee, OGN’s head of partnerships, said that Supercell was looking for certain traits from a production partner. One was the proven ability to organize and operate leagues, which OGN has done for nearly two decades. OGN’s esports history dates back to the initial competitive popularity of StarCraft and into the early days of both League of Legends and Overwatch . Currently, OGN produces the North American National PUBG League (NPL) for PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS .
Supercell was also looking for a production partner with established marketing and social resources, said Lee, as well as one with the ability to produce much more shoulder programming around the Clash Royale League. “We’re a cable channel, so we’ve been there—challenged with always finding great content to make people more familiar with the game,” said Lee.
With OGN at the helm, the Clash Royale League will institute a few previously-announced changes. First, the new CRL West region will shift away from the mobile-friendly, yet divisive portrait orientation used in last season’s North American, Europe, and Latin American regions.
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Additionally, there will be both Spring and Fall seasons—the Western regions only had one season apiece in 2018—and OGN will offer Spanish and Portuguese-language broadcasts alongside English. Although produced in different facilities, OGN’s West and Asia region broadcasts will “carry a cohesive theme and maintain that consistent production quality,” said Lee.
“OGN is the original innovator in esports, and the expertise they’ve developed over 18 years of producing gaming competitions and content will grow the Clash Royale League by creating a better experience for our community, whether they are competing or watching,” said Tim Ebner, Supercell’s head of esports, in a statement to The Esports Observer. “Thanks to this partnership, there will be more CRL content and a more consistent and unified viewing experience for our fans all over the world.”
“It’s truly an honor to work with a great brand like Clash Royale.”
For OGN, partnering with Supercell for the Clash Royale League has multiple benefits. First off, it allows the company to make a significant splash into mobile esports with a popular game that has already commanded solid competitive attention to date. OGN’s charge, then, is to try and elevate both Clash Royale esports and mobile esports on the whole with enhanced production values, potentially wider-reaching marketing, and the addition of sponsors.
“It’s truly an honor to work with a great brand like Clash Royale,” said Lee. “We feel like the global industry of mobile gaming is really growing, and we want to really bring in the experience to show people that mobile esports can be just as successful, and requires strong strategic thinking and quick reflexes.”
The move also furthers OGN’s own North American ambitions. In October, the company was reported to be spending at least $100M to expand into the region, beginning with the PUBG NPL and debut of the OGN Super Arena. “Last year, we launched in the US with a big initiative, and what helps is that a game like Clash Royale has a big, massive audience globally, and also a big presence in the US,” said Lee. “It helps us work with [companies] and establish relationships here in the US.”
Google Play was the only sponsor for the first CRL season, serving as the presenting partner for the World Finals in Tokyo and making the connection that led to Complexity Gaming appearing on Conan O’Brien’s Clueless Gamer streaming show. OGN will now handle partnerships for the CRL regions and events that it operates in season two, and is looking into producing content and broadcast for linear platforms along with bringing in sponsors.
“It’s going to be very interesting how we build this partnership out.”
“What we are doing is trying to enhance our 360 package here, so not only will we be able to provide social and digital, but we’re looking at putting this on some linear platforms. We’re also looking at creating original content around this,” said Lee. “That’s on top of trying to really exploit and build out in-game promotional items, working with [Supercell].”
OGN and Supercell haven’t yet confirmed a date, but with a late May start expected for the Spring CRL West season, it won’t be long before we see the fruits of their labor.
“We feel like it’s an increasingly growing audience and that we can deliver not only the gameplay, but also content to that mobile platform,” Lee concluded. “It’s going to be very interesting how we build this partnership out.”