After all this time, the League of Legends esports division still isn’t making money for Riot Games. It’s also not breaking even, according to statements made to Axios by Riot’s American Senior Director of Esports, Raul Fernandes.
During a discussion with Axios, Fernandez told them that despite Riot expecting over 100,000 people to watch the MOBA's matches online, viewership has been declining. The LCS Summer finals alone have dropped 21.8% in viewership, according to Esports Charts. Interestingly, while they state that they’re not breaking even on the endeavor, Fernandez still tells Axios that one event – the Newark event – wasn’t losing money.
There are things that the company is doing to make the league more viable. As noted, in the interview, Riot is trying to “find a way to refresh [the] league”. Since they believe that the viewership of League of Legends esports comes from those who play the game and not outside of the existing community. Because of this, Riot isn’t seeking the broadcast rights associated with normal sports – rights that typically make them money. Rather, they’re hoping that marketing directly to players in-game is the way to go.
The other big issue is that League of Legends’ long life has resulted in a game that’s more complex and a bit more difficult for esports viewers to understand. This is made even more complicated by the fact that the game has over 100 characters.
About the Author
QuintLyn is a long-time lover of all things video game related will happily talk about them to anyone that will listen. She began writing about games for various gaming sites a little over ten years ago and has taken on various roles in the games community.
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