Jess Colwill, November 18, 2016

Riot Games Partners with MLBAM for League of Legends Streaming in $90M Deal: Report

Major League Baseball’s streaming subsidiary BAM Tech and Riot Games are reportedly on the verge of striking a new deal valued at more than $90 million, according to sources in SportsBusiness Daily.

Although there has been no official comment from either party, MLBAM and Riot executives have reportedly spent the last several weeks negotiating the arrangement, which is speculated to be a two-year partnership.

BAM Tech already has partnerships with Disney, WWE, HBO, the PGA Tour, and many others including Eurosport Digital in Europe.

SportsBusiness Daily is reporting that the arrangement will not be exclusive and that League of Legends content will still be available through the usual channels of YouTube, Twitch, and other streaming platforms.

A leaked document outlining the framework of the deal references to a “standalone video application” for the Riot website, and to a “subscription billing” program.

It is currently being speculated that this move will form part of Riot’s ongoing attempt to make League broadcasting and professional play a more sustainable, profitable venture for all concerned—particularly in the wake of the payment questions which have dogged the company for the last several months.

“It’s probably taken for granted by the traditional sports audience that revenue sharing is a fundamental part of league economics, but it’s not in most esports,” explained Catalyst Sports & Media Exec VP Bryce Blum in a statement to SportsBusiness Daily.

“Just because this media deal comes through, there isn’t a structure in place to guarantee that the teams and players are meaningful participants in the upside of a deal they’re undoubtedly instrumental in creating.”

Jess Colwill

Jess is a writer and dog-lover from the eastern coast of Australia, who loves playing games (particularly anything by BioWare), listening to metal, baking, and fostering rescue dogs while they wait for new homes. You can find her on Twitter at @notsocryptic.