Riot Games Close to Making League of Legends Streaming Deal
It appears that League of Legends is going big league, and I mean that in a Major League Baseball way. Riot Games is close to signing a deal with Major League Baseball Advanced Media's tech unit to sell League of Legends streaming rights for two years for a whopping $200 million. This is a really big step for the insanely popular free mmo that regularly draws more than 100 million players per month.
Under this new deal, League of Legends streaming will shift from its current home on Twitch, YouTube, and the game's website to an app developed by MLBAM. The media tech unit is owned primarily by MLB, but the National Hockey League and Disney hold minority stakes. This deal has not yet been finalized, but you can be sure that other eSports companies are paying close attention.
Joost van Dreunen, chief executive of SuperData Research, offers, "Considering Riot's aggressive strategy of vertical integration to better the user experience — they built their own Internet backbone to improve latency — having their own channel, and thereby reducing their reliance on Twitch, is a solid decision."
There is some speculation on how this deal will effect League of Legends streaming of eSports events overall. Will mmo gamers be willing to pay a subscription fee to watch matches? Will matches no longer be available on Twitch or YouTube? We'll have to wait and see the details once the deal is finalized. No matter what, this is a huge step for eSports in general and can lead to other games taking a similar plunge if it is successful.