Riot is now adding another feature of sponsorship to their League of Legends esports production. Today, it introduced Summoner’s Rift Arena Banners. These banners are new methods of Riot trying to sell things to you. Each banner is meant to display the partners for different League of Legends leagues throughout the world.
Ads? In my server?
While you may be thinking “why should I care about more ads in my esports match?”, it is actually a good thing. The reason why the new Arena Banners are beneficial is that it continues to add legitimacy to the esports world. “Our aspiration is to create an environment that exudes the energy found in traditional sports, and we’ll continue to work towards that goal”, stated the LoL Esports blog post. This is not the first time League of Legends has partnered with a brand in such a direct way. The former LCS show, Monday Night League, featured a post-show stream sponsored by Bud Light. Looking at their point of making esports similar to traditional sports, almost all traditional sports have some sort of sponsored statistic breakdown or highlight. This is just another step toward becoming a more traditional sport, in the sense of production.
The main goal of these sponsored aspects is to create advertisements that don’t feel like direct ads. Viewers of any program, not just sports or esports, dislike ads. If the production can introduce sponsors in a way that doesn’t feel like a direct attempt to sell you something, it will be more accepted by the viewers. With this in mind, the new Arena Banners seem like a step in the right direction. Another point to cover: Riot stated that the banners will be customized for each League. If the different organizations can be creative with these banners, it might even be a fun new aspect for viewers. The Summoner’s Rift Arena Banners will be introduced in the League of Legends Summer Split starting June 13th. `