Priceless? Mastercard Signs Massive Deal With Riot Games’ League Of Legends
Riot Games has entered into a multi-year partnership with Mastercard, which will become the first global sponsor for League of Legends esports. The deal provides Mastercard with status as the exclusive global payment services partner for League of Legends global esports events.
Specifically, Mastercard will focus on three annual global tournaments — the Mid-Season Invitiational, the All-Star Event and the World Championship. The first activation will come with the World Championshhip to be held this Fall in South Korea.
Additionally, Mastercard will be working with its banking partners to offer League of Legends co-branded products starting in 2019.
Sources have indicated that the arrangement with Mastercard is the largest deal that Riot Games has ever closed and that the deal had been in the works for roughly a year.
Mastercard may be somewhat new to the world of esports, but it has a long and meaningful history as a partner of more traditional sports and entertainment leagues and properties such as Major League Baseball, PGA TOUR, The Open, The Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Rugby World Cup and UEFA Champions League.
“Esports is a phenomenon that continues to grow in popularity, with fans that can rival those at any major sporting event in their enthusiasm and energy,” says Mastercard chief marketing and communications officer Raja Rajamannar. “Our Priceless platform is built around connecting with people through their passions. We are excited about the experiences and benefits we can bring to the world’s largest esport – both in-game and to the millions of League of Legends fans that watch and attend the tournaments each year.”
There are over fourteen professional League of Legends esports leagues, 113 pro teams and more than 850 salaries athletes, per Riot Games. Viewership of the regular season of League of Legends averaged 90 million hours watched live, week-over-week throughout the world. The 2017 World Championship reached a total of 1.2 billion hours watched during the course of the twenty-one day competition.