Riot Games and Bilibili have agreed to a massive deal surrounding the League of Legends esports ecosystem. The partnership between the two companies grants Bilibili exclusive broadcasting rights in China beginning with Worlds 2020 and through to the 2023 Mid-Season Invitational.
Bilibili will broadcast Worlds, MSI, and the All-Star Event exclusively in China and will produce livestreamed and video-on-demand content for Chinese fans. Riot and Bilibili have agreed to work on more esports documentaries and offline events as well. Bilibili reportedly paid $113 million for the three-year deal, according to journalist Rod “Slasher” Breslau.
Riot has confirmed its deal with Chinese video site Bilibili for LoL Worlds, MSI, All-Star broadcast rights in China
Bilibili reportedly paid Riot $113M over 3 yrs for just three events and one region. makes Activision Blizzard's OWL/ CDL Twitch/YouTube deals look like peanuts
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 3, 2020
“We are excited to reach this strategic partnership with Riot Games,” Bilibili COO Carly Lee said. “Throughout the past decade, we have witnessed the development of the esports industry from a niche market to a mainstream one that is now one of the most popular sports among young people in China.”
Riot China’s general manager Leo Lin also said the popular streaming platform has “built a solid foundation in esports to thrive now and in the future” and will be a great place to help League esports thrive in the country.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of League, both companies will produce an official documentary focusing on LPL teams. It’ll be available exclusively on Bilibili and will show the road that Chinese teams must take on their way to the World Championship later this year.
Riot and Bilibili will also host a series of offline esports events during Worlds 2020, allowing fans to watch the games when the tournament begins in September.
Bilibili gained a lot of traction recently, investing more into different genres of esports. They recently launched an Overwatch tournament.
The tournament named, “Shadow Cup,” will be run in the week immediately following the conclusion of Contenders China and will feature four teams that will be participating by invitation only. The games will be streamed on the BiliBili website alongside a Chinese broadcast and casting.
The prize money awarded to the winner and the runner-up is 3,000 RMB and 1,000 RMB respectively (approximately $423 and $141 USD).
By incentivizing young players to showcase their talent on their website with prize money, BiliBili will look to call first dibs on any emerging talent from this tournament.
BiliBili owns both an Overwatch League team and a Chinese Contenders team, and has been excellent at using lower tier competition to scout local talent. In fact, with five players scouted from minor league teams promoted into the OWL, the organization has a better pipeline than any other that operates an academy team.