Riot Games is introducing a new in-game advertising scheme to League of Legends. Starting with next month’s Summer Split matches, the company is launching Summoner’s Rift Arena Banners that feature real-world advertising during official esports matches. Brands included under the new advertising scheme include Mastercard and Alienware.
The news comes via a blog post from Riot Games, in which the company states that it is seeking to emulate how advertising works in real-world sporting events, stating:
“This is the first digital product we’re announcing ahead of the Summer Split that’s designed to build a richer viewing experience around esports. Our aspiration is to create an environment that exudes the energy found in traditional sports, and we’ll continue to work towards that goal.”
However, the company is clear to note that the adverts will only be seen by spectators, and that match participants will instead see the regular map without adverts, in order to minimise the risk of distraction during the game.
“While these banners will be visible to those watching online, pros will continue to see the standard Summoner’s Rift model while playing their official matches. This will ensure that a new visual model won’t impact their ability to practice and compete on an identical Rift.
“We see this as an important next step to help our leagues and teams reach their next stage of growth. Summoner’s Rift Arena Banners, along with products like Pro View and Watch Missions, allow us to build experiences that integrate with the core League of Legends game to give players and viewers more ways to engage with the sport. You can look forward to additional products ahead of the Summer Split that will continue to build the digital experience for fans watching at home!”
Riot Games aren’t the first to experiment with in-game advertising in new ways, of course. We recently spoke to Bidstack about how in-game advertising can be used to spread positive messages to hard to reach audiences.