Riot Games and BAMTech have announced a long-term partnership under which BAMTech will broadcast and help to monetise League of Legends. BAMTech is a subsidiary of Major League Baseball’s media group, with the remit of commercialising partnered content and delivering it to followers worldwide on new media platforms, such as streams.
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BAMTech will pay a minimum of $300 million through 2023 for the “exclusive” rights to stream and monetise League of Legends competitions, which implies that Twitch won’t be allowed to broadcast it any more. However, Riot’s co-founder Marc ‘Tryndamere’ Merrill said on Reddit that “it’s not platform exclusive”, so perhaps that's not the case.
Revenue beyond the initial $300 million will be shared (though the percentages have not been revealed), which is when BAMTech will start making money out of the deal. For their part, Riot are hoping BAMTech’s expertise in sponsorship and advertising will “help us unlock long-lasting and meaningful value for our digital sport as it matures”, according to their own announcement on the League website.
This is also big news for eSports fans around the globe, say Riot. “Beginning next year, we’ll also be collaborating to push the boundaries of the eSports viewing experience, elveraging BAMTech’s best-in-class technology to create additional possibilities and opportunities for fans to access, and connect with, League of Legends.”
This deal represents probably the biggest-ever vote of confidence in eSports by a mainstream media organisation. With this injection of money, expertise and ambition, the partnership is one to watch for major innovations in the ways in which eSports are broadcast and monetised. As Riot say, “this is a game changer for our sport.”