Riot Games has found a creative new way to show off its sponsors during the upcoming League of Legends Summer Splits in pro play.
Called “Summoner’s Rift arena branding,” in-game digital sponsor signs and banners will be placed throughout the popular MOBA’s map. With the upcoming season taking place completely online, there are fewer options for sponsors and brands without the benefit of the LCS Arena. Since most viewers will be watching live streams of the gameplay itself, having the sponsors’ logos throughout the map seems to be the most effective way to showcase the brands without overwhelming at-home viewers.
“From our live events, to our online broadcasts, we strive to define modern sports by continuously innovating how audiences experience League of Legends. For the first time in League history, SR Arena Banners put our partners’ brands directly on the field of play, creating an immersive experience that echoes the energy found in major sports arenas,” Riot Games head of global esports partnerships Naz Aletha said.
According to Esports Observer, Riot worked with Los Angeles-based publisher Nielsen, who stated that there’s data proving in-game branding will become one of the esport’s “most valuable deliverable assets.”
While the logos will be visible to fans, the players themselves won’t see the branding. This eliminates the possibility of a distraction and keeping the competitive integrity of the tournament. So far, League of Legends viewers have shared positive feedback on the innovative sponsorship idea. Fans explained that it’s less distracting and intrusive than pop-ups advertisements on stream.
Riot worked with Nielsen to help evaluate the in-game branding, and the L.A.-based publisher says the data shows that it will instantly become one of its most valuable deliverable assets.
The first two sponsors to sign up for this innovative in-game branding are Mastercard and Alienware. All 12 League of Legends regions will have their own unique sponsors to advertise within the game.
“Mastercard was the first global partner of League of Legends Esports because it connects with so many people around the world who are passionate about the game,” Mastercard chief marketing and communications officer Raja Rajamannar stated.