After months of speculation that Riot Games will sell streaming rights to BAMTech, now we have an official announcement. In their statement, Riot Games expressed the enthusiasm about the first-of-its-kind long-term partnership whose primary goal is to deliver professional LoL content worldwide.
BAMTech and Riot Games will collaborate closely in a bid to increase the revenue in esports streaming. They plan to do so by including sponsorships, advertisements, and so on. Starting in next year with the League of Legends Championship Series 2017, two moguls of their own niches will work together to change the esports viewing experience of the LCS Live Stream, revolutionize the way the events are streamed and watched. Creating additional opportunities and possibilities for fans to access with and connect to the League of Legends is a priority not only for Riot Games but for BAMTech, too. The latter plans to utilize the best-in-class technology to make this happen.
The statement from Riot Games considers this partnership as a game changer, a piece of the puzzle that this esports has been missing all along. Adequate economic sustainability is vital for the survival of esports and LoL, and this move poses as the step in a right direction. Riot Games hope that BAMTech will establish a long-lasting and meaningful value for the esport as it grows, develops, and matures. On the other hand, BAMTech is committed to establishing professional LoL and ensuring its bright future for the sake of players, teams, and ever-increasing fandom.
What changes to expect?
BAMTech is set to pay a minimum $300 million through 2023 to Riot Games for this agreement. So, what will they get in return for paying that much money? The Major League Baseball- and Disney-owned streaming tech company will get the exclusive rights to stream and monetize the League of Legends tournaments like the LCS. The media mogul plans to launch a LoL streaming service with apps for smartphones, tablets, PCs, and other devices.
Furthermore, BAMTech will also control the distribution on the existing streaming portals such as YouTube and Twitch. This deal also adds more to the rumor that ESPN was about to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to get the streaming rights for the games. Despite the fact that between BAMTech and Riot Games is about streaming rather than broadcasting, it is impossible to ignore the fact that Disney owns ESPN. Coincidentally (or not), ESPN is set to launch a streaming service that will focus on sports that aren’t broadcasted on the “regular” cable channels.
Although the initial revenue will be generated by BAMTech only (so they can cover the investment they made), the takings beyond that will be shared with Riot Games at an unspecified rate.
Does this mean it will be impossible to watch LCS streams for free?
As soon as the news about the possible partnership between Riot Games and BAMTech broke out, fans expressed their concerns about the streams they used to watch tournaments. As mentioned above, the action for the LoL events was available on Twitch and YouTube for free. Does this collaboration mean users will have to pay for them now?
Riot director of eSports Whalen Rozelle confirmed on Reddit that “The current experience we have today is and will continue to be free.” He also mentioned the deal could be worth more than $300 million if the collaboration goes well because broadcasts lead to more sponsorships and business partners.
Rumors can finally be laid to rest as Riot Games made an official announcement wherein they confirmed the partnership with BAMTech. Two moguls will work together to increase the viewing experience, make it easier for fans to access and connect with LoL, and they also hope to improve the quality of not only LoL events but esports in general. One thing is for sure, 2017 will be an interesting year for LoL fandom.
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About the Author: Amna El Tawil is a news reporter and a technology blogger. For the past five years, she has worked for major publications and TV networks in the Middle East, covering one of region’s hotspots. When Amna is not chasing after the truth amidst gas canisters, she can be found cheering her favorite football team on, or unwinding with some online gaming.