Riot, the publisher behind hit battle arena title League of Legends, has struck a deal with major sports broadcaster ESPN.
The multi-year deal will see League of Legends’ North America League Championship Series broadcast on ESPN+, a new streaming service launched by the broadcaster earlier this year.
ESPN+ is a sports streaming platform that already features a number of popular leagues and competitions. The service currently offers access Major League Baseball, National Hockey League and PGA golf coverage for a fee of $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year.
The deal will allow ESPN to show all NA LCS related games and competitions. This will include the World Championship, Rift Rivals and the Academy League. It is unclear whether ESPN plans to add other League of Legends competitions, such as EU LCS or LCK, to the platform in the future.
According to ESPN, this will replace a deal agreed between Riot and streaming company BAMTech in 2016. BAMTech was recently purchased by Disney, who is also the parent company of ESPN. As part of the original deal, BAMTech were working with Riot to create a standalone streaming platform for League of Legends, but that now seems unlikely.
It is unclear whether new terms have been agreed or the current agreement altered. The BAMTech deal was worth $300 million to Riot and was set to run until 2023.
What is clear is that this deal is non-exclusive. This means that other services like Twitch and YouTube can continue to stream NA LCS action and League of Legends fans won’t be forced to pay for the ESPN+ service to watch their team compete.
NA LCS Summer Split
The NA LCS is one of the most competitive leagues in esports. The competition features popular teams like TSM, Team Liquid and Cloud9.
Following Riot’s decision to franchise the league ahead of the 2018 season, their place in the division is secure. This has helped Riot to attract big-name sponsors in recent months.
NA LCS will begin showing on ESPN+ when the Summer Split gets underway next month.