Riot Games and FTX nail down LoL e-sports marketing deal

The major cryptocurrency exchange will have its branding displayed during League Championship Series matches for the next 7 years.


Both e-sports and cryptocurrency are amongst the biggest new tech industries to arise in recent years, and by the looks of things they are here to stay. Financial analysts seem to think so, and various companies are betting on it with long lasting deals. As are Riot Games and cryptocurrency exchange site FTX, who have just finalized a 7-year deal together.

As a part of the partnership, FTX will sponsor League Championship Series (LCS) games and its branding, name and logos will be displayed as advertisements at these matches for the next seven years, if not longer should they decide to renew the deal.

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FTX is also going to deliver its own flavor of data for each League of Legends match. As a cryptocurrency exchange, finance is its particular area of expertise and as part of this deal, various graphs and metrics of in-game gold quantities held by competing teams will appear on displays bearing their branding.

This is already a little more involved than a pedestrian sponsorship agreement, and on top of it all FTX is also directly sponsoring the “LCS Most Improved Player Award”. Beyond a greater measure of involvement from FTX's part, this arrangement also sets itself apart from the crowd by being the longest one ever negotiated by Riot Games for e-sports, making it a landmark agreement for the company.

League of Legends is a titan of the e-sports scene, having grown exponentially and showing no signs of decline even though it now has to share more of the spotlight than during its prime some years ago. The game sees over 100 million active players each month and over 40 million viewers tuned in to past LCS World Championship broadcasts.

While some have predicted that both the e-sports and crypto bubbles would burst a while ago (and to this day crypto remains a hot topic of debate), both have persevered and show consistent signs of growth, affirming that they are here to stay. These companies' negotiating deals lasting longer than half a decade sure indicate that they're confident in that.

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This isn't the only finger that FTX has in the e-sports pie, with another record breaking partnership involving a specific team. FTX's $210 million deal with Team SoloMid led to the team being renamed to "TSM FTX", but that wasn't enough for the exchange's branding to appear on-screen at LCS matches, so they went the extra mile.

Cryptocurrency companies sponsoring entities in the e-sports realm is not an isolated case, with FTX rival Coinbase partnering with LCS team Evil Geniuses, and also sponsoring the ESL in the StarCraft II and Counter-Strike tournaments.

If these trends keep up, we might see more cryptocurrency companies muscling in on e-sports sponsorships, which have previously been overwhelming dominated by gaming hardware and peripheral manufacturers.

Aron Gerencser
Gaming at least as long as he's been walking, Aron is a fan of all things sci-fi and lover of RPGs. Having written about games for years, he's right at home reporting most of the breaking news in the industry and covering the happenings of the e-sports world. When not writing, editing or playing, you can find Aron on Facebook.