Riot Games has confirmed that BAMTech, owned by Major League Baseball and Disney, will launch its new streaming platform for League of Legends soon.
Both companies signed a massive deal in December which nets BAMTech exclusive rights to “stream and monetize” the esports scene of League of Legends through sponsorship and advertisement. In return, the streaming unit will pay a minimum of $300 million through 2023 ($50 million annually) to Chinese parent firm Tencent Holdings Limited.
According to Jarred Kennedy, co-head of esports at Riot Games, the partnership will help League of Legends evolve in the market as a leading esports brand. Speaking at a South by Southwest (SXSW) panel last week, he stated that BAMTech holds great technical expertise and is a digital innovator when it comes to monetization and commercialization.
“We want to be leaders and innovators like WWE was when they came into the market and helped shape it,” he noted (via SportTechie).
Kennedy reiterated for the vast League of Legends community that Riot Games is not looking to charge for a subscription-based model. However, he did mention that there is a possibility of such a premium package to arrive later on. It will exist alongside the free model and offer additional features for viewers. There will be no mandatory clause and the community will have the option of choosing between a free or premium experience.
It should also be noted that while BAMTech will be handling all League of Legends streaming partnerships, such as with YouTube and Twitch, it will not enforce any kind of exclusivity barrier. Those wanting to watch League Championship Series (LCS) on Twitch will be able to do so with ease. However, the end-game of the company will probably be to turn everyone towards its upcoming $300 million streaming platform.
Previously, BAMTech president of business and media Bob Bowman stated that the amount of time registered through official League of Legends streaming channels is greater than any other sport in the world. Hence, it’s “really exciting” for the MLB streaming company to work on the most popular game in the market.