Over the past few days, there have been rumours surrounding discussions that Riot Games and MLB Advanced Media recently had. MLBAM’s subsidiary BAM Tech handles many famous companies, including Disney, HBO, WWE and The PGA Tour, just to name a few. This deal could mean a lot for League of Legends, and is a massive turning point for esports as a whole.
Richard Lewis was the first to report this news yesterday. The news also appeared earlier today on SportsBusinessDaily, and mentions a lot of different aspects to this rumoured $90 million deal. Sources apparently confirmed that there has been constant communication between Riot Games and MLBAM, discussing deals and negotiating. As BAM Tech is known for its relationship with traditional sports, this deal (if it goes through or has already taken place) will be closely watched by sports team owners and investors, according to analysts.
While there have been a select few sports teams starting to recognise the value of esports, and the ever-growing community it appeals to, this deal could no doubt put esports at the forefront of organisations’ minds. Paris Saint-Germain is a more recent example of a team that has recognised the potential of esport, and these recent reports could mark a change in how big organisations think in regards to esports.
So what does this mean for League of Legends? Well, teams who compete in esports will benefit a great deal, and play a large role in this deal taking place. Riot will definitely be looking to expand beyond the conventional sponsorships and ad revenue that teams depend on. Furthermore, they will potentially receive more media coverage, as their streams are currently available on YouTube, Twitch and similar streaming websites. There is a possibility that League of Legends may get its own platform for streaming outside of Twitch, and SportsBusinessDaily’s report indicates that there may be a new video application for the League of Legends website. Not only this, but there are said to be “references to subscription billing.”
Although Riot Games and MLBAM have refused to comment thus far, it’s hard to dispute that there are discussions currently underway. Going into 2017, there may be a lot of changes to LoL esports. These changes will inevitably have an impact on other competitive games and on how investors view them, and could reshape the esports industry as we know it.
*Edit (Nov. 17 5:45 p.m. EST): It has come to our attention that we inaccurately credited the above report. Richard Lewis originally reported this information 24 hours earlier. You can find his video here: “Are Riot Games Set To Announce A Streaming Deal With MLBAM?” We apologize to Lewis, and anyone else offended, for this mistake.
What do you think is next for League of Legends? Let us know in a comment below or tweet us @GAMURScom.
Jordan Aldridge-Payne is an esports journalist for GAMURS and can be reached on Twitter @mrjordanap.