League of Legends developer Riot Games and MLB Advanced Media's BAMTech have entered into an exclusive monetisation and commercialisation partnership worth at least $50m per year.
Yahoo reports that the deal will run until 2023 and applies globally.
Riot's co-head of eSports and head of merchandising Jarred Kennedy has assured fans that this does not mean streams of official LoL tournaments will be locked behind a paywall.
We first and foremost believe in making sure that the content is in places where the fans want to watch it, so that will continue to be the case,” he said. We believe in making content freely available, and it will continue to be freely available into the future. We have no plans to change that.”
However, co-head of eSports Whalen Rozelle did suggest that premium viewing experiences could be offered in addition to what exists now, stating: That's not to say that we won't innovate down the road. Maybe there is something super cool that we create that has to be behind a premium experience so that fans want to buy into it.”
BAMTech has confirmed that it is developing a LoL app, with president of business and media Bob Bowman adding: We think the world is ready for esports. The sponsors, the advertisers are ready for it. They're dying for it. It's a great audience and they spend a great deal of time with this content.”