Riot Games is looking to make a little extra money via its sponsorship program in League of Legends. The latest iteration of this comes in the form of in-game advertisements that will begin with Summer Split. Players should then expect to see new banners across Summoner’s Rift that feature esports-related branding. These banners are called Summoner’s Rift Arena Banners and will display unique brands depending on a gamer’s geographic location.
A new wave of digital products by Riot Games
The inclusion of Arena Banners is the first new digital product that Riot Games has introduced before Summer Split. They are designed largely with the goal to “build a richer viewing experience around esports.” Presumably, Riot believes that by following advertising strategies from traditional sports, it might be able to create more interest in esports.
The blog post announced that Mastercard would be one potential Arena Banner advertiser. Mastercard has already been a long-time sponsor of League of Legends, their partnerships including the League of Legends Championship Series when it planned to bring a fan to the finals. Those plans changed when Riot changed the games to occur online, but Mastercard has still been quite involved in League of Legends for a time.
How Arena Banners function
Players and pros alike are warranted in their concerns over how this might impact regular gameplay. But according to Riot, there is no cause for worry. Pros will still play on the traditional Summoner’s Rift map and these banners will not interfere with the matches. So while Arena Banners content will change based on location, players will still find themselves on the same Summoner’s Rift.
Riot views Arena Banners as a new way for leagues and teams alike to grow and evolve. Alongside Arena Banners, other products like Pro View and Watch Missions give Riot the opportunity to experiment with the overall viewing experience. David Higdon, global head of communications and esports, responded to a fan’s concerns about the risk of too much integration on Twitter: “We’ll be very careful on how we innovate around it. Let us know what you think when you watch it this summer. We’ll adjust as needed.”
Summer Split begins on June 13. At this point, players should expect to see more digital products on League of Legends.