Rumor: ESPN in discussions to pay Riot Games $500 million to broadcast League of Legends – UPDATED
Update – 12:52p Pacific
GameSpot reached out to Riot Games to confirm or deny the story, and stated that the report is inaccurate. As of right now, ESPN won’t be cutting a sizable check to broadcast League of Legends.
ESPN already launched an eSports Twitter account and pays writers to cover the eSports scene. Now it’s looking to augment its coverage of virtual sporting events by broadcasting League of Legends, according to a report published by PVP Live.
Per the report, ESPN has entered discussions with Riot Games to buy the broadcasting rights to League of Legends for $500 million. PVP Live provides no details regarding when the deal might happen, or if, or the exact parameters. For example, Riot Games may sell ESPN the rights to broadcast the North American League of Legends Championship series and allow other outlets to handle European broadcasts.
Speaking of which, Riot Games has deals in place with several streaming platforms, including Twitch. If ESPN locks down broadcasting rights, those arrangements would be null and void.
There’s precedent to lend merit to PVP Live’s report. ESPN is obviously serious about covering eSports, and going even further; it has broadcast Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm in the past. Expanding its portfolio of broadcasting licenses only makes sense.