Turkey’s Saran Media acquires League of Legends broadcast rights

Sports agency Saran Media acquired rights to the Turkish Challenger League.

2016 Turkish Challenger League finals played out in Fehnerbahçe's Ülker Sports Arena, Photo via LoLeSpor

Turkish media group Saran Media has acquired domestic rights to League of Legends esports, SportBusiness reports.

League developer Riot Games and Saran agreed on undisclosed terms. Saran’s pay TV channel S Sport will reportedly broadcast the Turkish Challenger League games, along with highlights and magazine programming, according to SportBusiness.

The channel will also broadcast the 2017 League of Legends World Championship Series, which will take place in the Chinese cities of Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing.

Saran Media holds rights to traditional sports competitions like Premier League soccer and tennis tournament Wimbledon. While Turkey is only a wildcard region on competitive League’s map, the domestic scene is relatively strong.

Since Istanbul’s three big sports clubs—Beşiktaş, Galatasaray, and Fenerbahçe—all planted flags in League esports over the course of the last two years, the game has gained a lot of attention in Turkey. The 2016 Turkish finals were played in Fenerbahçe’s Ülker Sports Arena, for instance, a stadium with a 15,000 seat capacity.

To date, broadcasting rights in esports are still comparatively underdeveloped as sources to monetize the games. Riot’s seven-year deal with MLBAM, worth $350 million, is surely the game changer in that regard.

With the additional sale of domestic rights in Turkey and elsewhere, the developer is in a good spot to take advantage of its game’s growing popularity and, hopefully, capable to improve the viewing experience even further.

After all, getting ahead and pushing boundaries is the least we expect from the market leader.