What began as competitive gaming at LAN parties is now a worldwide passion with over 148 million fans. Projected to rise to 215 million by 2019, eSports is no longer a mere hobby. As a result, in 2017 eSports enthusiasts will see their favorite games coming to TV and 24/7 online coverage.
Latest in eSports industry deals is Riot’s partnership with BAMTech and offshoot MLB Advanced Media. Together, MLBAM provides streaming technology to Disney, WWE, and HBO among other popular brands. From here on, MLBAM will also be providing services to League of Legends and Riot to commercialize and monetize viewership of the game.
How will this effect current viewing of eSports?
Be that as it may, thankfully Riot confirmed the partnership will not affect Twitch, YouTube, and other live viewing platforms. Though this doesn’t rule out a premium service being offered, co-head of eSports and head of merchandising Jarred Kennedy 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,”
Riot Games will make a minimum of $50 million USD a year from this partnership. Furthermore, BAMTech expects to make far more than $50 million which is not that far-fetched considering the current state of eSports. The eSports industry saw a 239% increase in revenue in recent years earning it $463 million in total. Additionally, League of Legends alone smashed the NBA Finals audience numbers with 36 million viewers for its World Championship in 2015. BAMTech President of business and media Bob Bowman said
The amount of time that [Riot Games] has over the top for live events far eclipses any other sport in the world — not just eSport, any other sport in the world,”
What does this mean for eSports players and teams?
According to Riot Games, the main focus of the new streaming platform will be professional competition. Considering this, the streaming platform will not feature player and team streams but people could still benefit from Riot’s new revenue. At least that’s what Bowman would have us believe, saying that
revenue will find its way to players in the form of salaries and to teams in the form of a share of that revenue”
All in all this partnership seems like a good thing for the international eSports community and will mean more exposure. Players are already receiving 7 figure salaries and competitions give away million dollar prizes. Not forgetting eSports involves other great games like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: GO as well. Finally, eSports is a lifestyle and continues to build a strong, talented community with heart pumping action.