Marvel, Star Wars, and now — League of Legends? That’s right, BAMTech, a company owned by Major League Baseball (MLB) in conjunction with Disney has signed off on a deal with Riot Games that would give BAMTech exclusive rights over League of Legends tournament streaming.
The agreement asserts that in order to retain this privilege to “stream and monetize” the enormously popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, BAMTech is obligated to hand over at least $300 million to developer Riot Games by 2023. This acquisition model draws influence from video game publishing in that it’s paid over time rather than all at once.
The streaming company also plans to introduce a set of apps for smartphones, PCs, and more that will allow players to stream either directly to the app or via existing platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming. With over 100 million League of Legends players and counting, the stakes are high for such a streaming service to succeed.
“Our goal has always been to build League of Legends into a major global sport,” said Riot’s director of esports, Jarred Kennedy. “We want our sport to be funded by itself and we think this deal is going to help us get there.”
Riot Games, which contributes all of its resources to League of Legends alone, racks in $1 billion in revenue every year. Banking on earnings generated by advertisements and sponsorships, BAMTech and Riot together seek to take their financial success several steps further.
Before being spun out into its own company earlier this year, BAMTech was formerly a subsidiary of Major League Baseball’s MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM). Though MLBAM is still a majority stakeholder in the company, Disney has owned roughly a third of BAMTech since issuing a $1 billion check back in August.
As far as the subscription cost for using this all-in-one League viewer, Riot doesn’t plan on implementing one. That said, “premium content” added down the lines may very well be subject to fees.