Spotify Buys Exclusive Sponsorship for Riot Games 'League of Legends' Esports

Spotify is now the official, exclusive “audio service provider” for Riot Games’ “League of Legends” esports under a multiyear pact between the companies. It’s the first global paid sponsorship deal for Spotify — which wants to tap into the massive “LoL” fanbase to bring in new listeners.

What exactly is Spotify’s game with this? According to June Sauvaget, Spotify’s global head consumer and product marketing, said there’s a solid connection between gamers and streaming audio.

“Gamers are soundtracking their experiences with audio tracks,” she said. “There’s overlap between [gaming and music] audiences, but in the Venn diagram there’s white space on both sides.” Sauvaget said Spotify has entered into some bartered sponsorships in the past, but this is the first one the company is paying for.

Under the pact, Spotify will augment the official League of Legends hub for music on Spotify — which has 5 million monthly listeners — to add new music, podcasts and playlists inspired by the gaming community including “This Is League of Legends” and the “Official League of Legends Playlist.”

The partnership will run year-round, but the biggest event for the franchise is the massive online battle arena (MOBA) game’s annual League of Legends World Championship. Now in its 10th year, the 2020 event is scheduled to take place in Shanghai, China, from Sept. 25-Oct. 31, bringing together teams from the around the world. “It’s a massive production that’s viewed by tens of millions of fans,” said Naz Aletaha, head of Riot’s global esports partnerships. In 2019, the LoL World Championship Finals drew an average minute audience of 21.8 million viewers globally.

For the championship tourney, Spotify will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the Worlds Anthem in a takeover on Spotify. The musical anthem is the anticipated hero song of the year for “LoL” fans, released with an original music video and performed during the opening ceremonies of the League of Legends World Championship.

In addition, Spotify will develop and produce an exclusive original “League of Legends” podcast series centering on behind-the-scenes stories around the game’s esports events and personalities, from the in-house production division under head of studios and video Courtney Holt.

Under the sponsorship deal, Spotify will have an in-game banner that will show up in parts of the game itself during “League of Legends” esports events. “Our goal is to be where our audience is, and provide audio content that provides value to them,” said Sauvaget.

L.A.-based Riot Games was founded by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill and currently is led by CEO Nicolo Laurent. The company has more than 2,500 employees worldwide.

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