Last Wednesday, (Sept 19) Mastercard announced live in Singapore a multi-year, global partnership with Riot Games, the company behind one of the world’s largest e-sport titles, League of Legends. This partnership is the first of its kind for both Mastercard and Riot Games. As of now, the agreement is slated to last the 2018 World Championship beginning October 1st, the All-Star Invitational in December and the Mid-Season Invitational sometime around mid-2019.
Both Mastercard and Riot Games have stated that they’re looking long-term with the partnership expecting it to span over the next few years. This sponsorship follows both allegations over sexism at Riot Games and backlash over Riot’s apparent failure to attain sponsors over the last few years – despite maintaining such a large portion of the Esports space with the League of Legends brand. As part of the partnership, Mastercard will now be the exclusive payment services partner as well as seek to offer priceless experiences to League of Legends fans as part of its ‘Priceless’ campaign alongside other huge sport and entertainment events like Major League Baseball, Rugby World Cup, UEFA Champions League and The Grammy’s.
On Mastercard’s Priceless.com they are already offering the first batch of experiences for fans including:
- Opening ceremony rehearsal viewing and a behind-the-scenes tour
- Opportunity to watch a game with a League of Legends pro player from VIP seats
- Test the gaming PCs the pros will compete on during the World Championship final
As the first global partnership of it’s kind for Riot Games, Mastercard is blazing the trail for other prospective major sponsors looking to get into Esports with their full commitment to this sponsorship deal with Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer of Mastercard noting “e-sports is a phenomenon that continues to grow in popularity, with fans that can rival those at any major sporting event in their enthusiasm and energy”.