BAMTech, the MLB’s streaming service company, is projected to pay a minimum of $300 million dollars for the streaming rights for Riot Games’ League of Legends. The deal was discovered by esports journalist Richard Lewis via a leaked document back in November that potentially outlines a paywall for the service. A statement by Whalen “RiotMagus” Rozelle in a Reddit thread seems to say otherwise, stating “the current experience we have today is and will continue to be free.”
Riot said, “This is a game changer for our sport,” and that this partnership is a “first-of-its-kind long-term commercialization partnership”. It’s focused on bringing more revenue and viewership to the scene. BAMTech and Riot will be developing a cross-platform streaming app of their own that they will monetize with ads and sponsorships to try and give League of Legends fans the best experience possible.
It’s exciting to see something like this come to fruition–with a cross-platform app that viewers can easily access, it’ll be much easier to put LoL esports into the hands of a wider audience. This will allow the esports spectator scene to grow, bringing in more revenue for developers and media outlets. If this partnership is successful, there is a chance there will be more corporate growth and development in producing esports media, and a constant push for innovation.
It’s a very exciting time for esports heading into 2017 with bigger companies investing time, money, and TV spots to the esports market. While we may hit some paywalls, as long as the BAMTech deal is executed well, the scene will continue to expand more than it already has in the past few years. Time will tell as to what 2017 will bring, but all signs look promising.