The Business Side of Worlds: Sponsorships, Prize Pools, and the Economics of League of Legends Esports

Much of League of Legends’ success is attributable to the reliable business model Riot Games has created. It has enabled the game to be funded, established competitive, regional leagues, and helped scores of gamers follow LoL as a viable career. The business side of LoL has also been able to present the game’s tournaments as sophisticated, exciting events that regularly draw up to 100 million viewers worldwide.

Team Funding

By 2017, team organizers were eager for LoL to have a more formal business structure. Their aim was to attract top players by offering lucrative, long-term contracts. Accordingly, Riot Games introduced new measures to expand the existing franchise system. Teams would still need to raise up to $10 million to compete in LoL leagues and competitions. The money is used to invest in marketing, supporting players, and providing content rather than paying it directly to Riot Games. Under the latest business initiative, teams would now enjoy a guaranteed 50% in earnings from LoL events’ revenue. In addition to being awarded a percentage of revenue generated by digital sales, payment methods were streamlined. Teams then had the confidence to budget and plan more effectively for the future.

Event Passes in Digital Currency

Traditional sporting business models usually secure lucrative contracts with television companies. While LoL has gained massive audiences of up to 100 million viewers for a single match, the events are largely streamed for free on Riot’s own platform or on YouTube. Riot Games introduced event passes for the most popular tournaments such as the Worlds. These unlock exclusive in-game content for players and audiences. Sponsors of the events are also able to connect with viewers in a direct, virtual format. Online activity is monitored, enabling Riot Games to offer viewers and players appropriate items such as exclusive Fan Packs that enhance their interaction with LoL.

Raising Funds through Skins

As a free to play combat game, LoL must raise funds to keep its platform functioning. A prime source of revenue is generated through the sale of exclusive skins. These cosmetic enhancements raise millions of dollars every year. Riot Games ensures that up to 50% of the money is distributed amongst participating teams and players. One of the most popular LoL skins of all time is the White Mage Veigar, which sells for a modest price. Rare skins such as the Black Alistar skin may cost around $900.

Exciting Future for LoL

Riot Games continues to consolidate and expand its business model for LoL. The Worlds 2023 will feature a prize pool of up to $3 million. Riot Games is also introducing a new Virtual Pass. It enables viewers and gamers to access a variety of items including LoL merchandise, exclusive content, in-game events, and related products from tournament sponsors. Visit to discover the latest schedule for LoL tournaments.

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