Game lovers are in for a treat.
ESPN and Riot games has signed a multi-year agreement to stream esports competitions on the ESPN+ app.
ESPN+ will kick off its coverage in June 16 — just in time for the North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split. Ten teams will go against each other twice each season, with 18 matches for each, and one match per day. The matches will stream live on ESPN+ on Saturday and Sunday.
Following this, the summer finals will be held in Sept. 8-9 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. Three teams will qualify for the League of Legends World Championship in South Korea. That competition will put 24 teams from 14 regional leagues up against each other later in the fall.
However, ESPN+ won’t have exclusive rights to the “League of Legends” programming, which will continue to be distributed on Amazon-owned Twitch and other platforms.
Here is how it all started: In 2016, Riot Games (publisher of multiplayer battle-arena title) inked a long-term pact with BAMTech for “League of Legends” esports content. Under the terms of that pact, BAMTech was to pay Riot Games at least $300 million through 2023 for exclusive rights to distribute and develop “League of Legends” esports events, as well as sell ads and sponsorships.
Then, last year Disney acquired majority control BAMTech, the streaming-media provider founded by Major League Baseball. With Disney’s takeover of BAMTech, the focus has shifted to supporting ESPN+ as a “multi-sport” streaming product rather than launching a separate “League of Legends” service. So, Riot Games entered into a new, multiyear agreement with the Walt Disney Co.’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment along with ESPN, which provides for non-exclusive content rights to “League of Legends” content.
League of legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows and macOS. The game follows a freemium model and is supported by microtransactions, and was inspired by the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne mod, Defense of the Ancients.
In League of Legends championships series, each players will assume the role of an unseen “summoner” that controls the “main character” with unique abilities and will battle against a team of other players or computer-controlled characters. The goal of this challenge is to eliminate the opposing team’s “nexus”.
Nexus, a structure which lies at the heart of a base protected by defensive structures, although other distinct game modes exist as well. Each League of Legends match is discrete, with all champions starting off fairly weak but increasing in strength by accumulating items and experience over the course of the game.
The league of legends teams competing in the North American League of legends championships series are:
- 100 Thieves
- Clutch Gaming
- Counter Logic Gaming
- Echo Fox
- Golden Guardians
- OpTic Gaming
- Team Liquid
ESPN+, the direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International in partnership with ESPN and featuring ESPN branded content, launched in April 12.
ESPN+ — which is $4.99 a month after a free seven-day trial — is available through on Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets, on Android phones, tablets and Android TV, on the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, on Roku, and streamed through Chromecast.