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FTX’s Spectacular Sponsorship Deal and Unpaid Promises to Riot Games for ‘League of Legends’

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The Unveiling of FTX’s Mammoth Sponsorship Deal with Riot Games

In a surprising turn of events, the now-defunct crypto exchange FTX made headlines for its colossal sponsorship deal with Riot Games, the developer of the popular game ‘League of Legends.’ This partnership promised nearly $100 million to Riot Games as part of FTX’s commitment to sponsor Riot’s League Championship Series (LCS) esports competition.

A Closer Look at the Unearthed Details

The revelation of FTX’s staggering deal with Riot Games unfolded during the legal trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of FTX, who faced seven charges, including wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. What’s intriguing is that the value of the FTX-Riot deal had never been publicly disclosed until now. This unexpected revelation has sent shockwaves throughout the gaming and cryptocurrency industries, shedding light on the intricacies of such high-stakes sponsorship agreements.

The Comprehensive Seven-Year Agreement

FTX agreed to sponsor Riot’s League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) in 2021 as part of a seven-year agreement. This agreement was set to automatically renew in 2028 unless either party contested it, emphasizing the long-term commitment both parties had embarked on. The details of this extensive agreement reveal not only the scale of FTX’s financial promises but also the strategic importance of securing a prominent position in the esports arena.

The Payment Breakdown

The spreadsheet reveals that Riot’s LCS was slated to receive $4 million in 2021, $12.5 million in 2022, and approximately $12.8 million in the current year. Annual recurring payments were outlined until the conclusion of the deal, showcasing the structured financial support that FTX had committed to offer. This level of financial commitment was a testament to the growing economic significance of esports competitions and their global reach.

Promises to Esports Giant TSM

FTX’s commitments didn’t stop at Riot Games. They also pledged over $136.5 million under an “FTX Trading” label and an additional $73.5 million under its “FTX US” label to esports organization TSM. This monumental 10-year, $210 million deal was announced in June 2021. The spreadsheet reveals the payment schedule for TSM, which was expected to receive substantial sums each year. Such deals with major esports organizations highlight the competitive nature of the sponsorship landscape, where securing top-tier teams has become a marketing priority.

Unanswered Questions

The pressing question remains: How much of these promised amounts were actually paid to Riot Games and TSM before FTX’s abrupt collapse in November 2022? Despite these revelations, Riot Games has not yet commented on the exact amount of funds promised or the extent to which these promises were fulfilled. TSM declined to provide any insights on the matter, leaving the industry and its enthusiasts speculating about the financial impact of FTX’s downfall on the esports ecosystem.

A Personal Passion for League of Legends

It’s worth noting that League of Legends held a special place in the heart of Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX. He openly expressed his obsession with the game, often discussing it on social media and even playing it during business meetings and interviews. This personal connection between the business world and gaming highlights the unique blend of interests that often drive the gaming and esports industry.

League of Legends – A Gaming Giant

League of Legends, with its impressive 133 million monthly active users, stands as one of the most popular competitive esports games. Data from ActivePlayer highlights its massive following, making it a significant asset for esports and crypto integration. The immense popularity of League of Legends underscores the global appeal of competitive gaming and the potential for strategic marketing in this space.

The Nexus of Crypto and Esports

The cryptocurrency industry has emerged as a promising revenue source for many esports organizations. Facing financial challenges in their quest for profitability, some esports entities, like TSM, M80, and 100 Thieves, have explored NFTs and crypto integration to better engage and monetize their fan bases. This intersection of crypto and esports represents an innovative approach to fan engagement, with the potential to reshape the future of esports marketing.

A Cooling Trend Amid Crypto’s Roller Coaster Ride

Despite initial excitement, the synergy between crypto and esports has faced a slowdown over the past year, mirroring the crypto bear market’s challenges. It’s an evolving landscape where adaptability and innovation will be key. This cooling trend serves as a reminder of the volatility and ever-changing nature of the cryptocurrency market and its impact on the esports industry. Companies and organizations operating in this space must remain agile and ready to pivot as market conditions fluctuate.