Getty Images has become the official photo image and distribution partner for global League of Legends esports events, such as the World Championship, Mid-Season Invitational, and All-Star Event, Riot Games announced a couple of days ago.
The partnership begins with this year’s Worlds, which is scheduled to take place in China this fall, according to Riot’s announcement. On July 9, the country canceled all international sports events for 2020 due to COVID-19.
Getty Images will be responsible for editorial photo and licensing requests for global League events until “at least 2024,” according to Riot. The company will be “working closely with Riot Games to capture the spirit of League of Legends esports including the competition, behind-the-scenes moments, and passionate fandom fueling the sport.”
Getty Images will also make thousands of images from past tournaments available for license in its “League of Legends Global Esports Collection.” Riot previously had a licensing partnership with Flickr.
Getty Images partners with many sports leagues and organizations around the world. It’s the official photographer or photographic partner for over 80 of the world’s leading sports governing bodies, leagues, and clubs, including FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, MLB, UEFA, NHL, NASCAR, NBA, NCAA, Manchester United, FC Bayern Munich, and Ultimate Fighting Championship.
With more mainstream sponsors entering the scene, the ecosystem of esports is becoming more stable. A couple of years ago Disney joined in as well. The company had acquired a majority stake in BAMTech, the streaming technology arm of Major League Baseball.
Riot Games, League of Legends’ developer, signed a seven-year, multi-million dollar deal with BAMTech. It is the most considerable broadcasting rights deal in the history of esports to date—not just because of its sheer size of at least $350 million, but also because it closely weaves together esports and traditional sports business.
Disney will pay $1.58 billion to acquire an additional 42 percent stake in BAMTech from MLB Advanced Media, upping its total stake in the streaming technology firm to 75 percent. One year ago, Disney acquired 33 percent in BAMTech, paying $1 billion, with the option to acquire majority ownership in the future. Evidently, Disney didn’t want to wait any longer.
Going forward, we should expect more giants to join in as they want a piece of the pie as well. The League of Legends esports scene has grown with insane dynamics in the past couple of years with each year’s World Championship being more huge than the other one.