Riot Games have announced they will begin selling ad space in-game during professional League of Legends esports tournaments and matches.
In an official blog post by LoL Esports Staff, they announced the addition of new arena banners for advertisers, in order to further monetize their esports program.
“Starting with the Summer Split, fans watching official League of Legends esports broadcasts will start to see more esports branding directly on the Rift. In the future, you can expect to see leagues begin to experiment with unique approaches that will more deeply integrate our partners to engage local and regional fan bases.”
The new ads will feature logos from brands, and will appear on the playing field to viewers. Professional players will not have the ads appear on their screen, in order to not become a distraction to the league.
Riot goes on to explain that their “aspiration is to create an environment that exudes the energy found in traditional sports, and we’ll continue to work towards that goal.” The suggestion being that on the field advertisements will bring League of Legends esports more in line with how traditional sports operate.
They further explain that “this is the first digital product we’re announcing ahead of the Summer Split that’s designed to build a richer viewing experience around esports.”
Future ways of monetizing League of Legends esports may be announced in the future. It is unclear what exactly “digital product” is meant in this context asides from ad space.
Riot Games is looking to continue adding new features to increase engagement with their esports program. They have already released Pro View, a program that allows viewers to pay a subscription and rewatch esports matches with additional features and control.
In-game, League of Legends players can participate in “Watch Missions” where their game account is signed in to when watching League of Legends esports and in-game rewards are given for their viewership; this is similar to how Overwatch gives tokens to integrated Twitch viewers.
League of Legends is available on Windows PC and Mac via the official website.