A recent partnership between League of Legends Esports and Dell Alienware launches the new year for Riot Games with another quality sponsor.
For Riot Games, the sponsorship strategy isn’t about stacking up sponsorship partners, but rather finding companies with aligned philosophical values, said Naz Aletaha, head of esports partnerships at Riot Games. Aletaha oversees League of Legends global sponsorships, strategic partnerships, business development, and media rights.
Along with Dell Alienware, Aletaha mentioned the Mastercard sponsorship launched at the League of Legends World Championship last year as the two prime examples of quality over quantity.
“Ultimately, we focus on finding partners who can do right by our fans and our sport — partners who share our fan-first philosophy and who want to stand side-by-side with us for the long term to deliver meaningful and authentic experiences to the entire ecosystem,” Aletaha said.
“Both are world-class brands who prioritize their customers and celebrate their passions. They both recognize by combining our efforts, we can take League of Legends Esports — which has scaled to a global, premier sport — to new heights.”
The multi-year partnership with Dell Alienware makes the computer manufacturer the “Official Competition PC and display partner” for the two leagues: League of Legends Championship Series and League of Legends European Championship. The partnership gives Dell Alienware the same title for four other international competitions, including the League of Legends World Championship.
The World Championship had 99.8 million unique viewers for the World Finals, showcasing the potential brand value with the esports league.
The deal will bring League of Legends a fleet of hundreds of Alienware Aurora R8 desktop computers with cutting-edge gaming monitors. Along with the computers will be Dell’s SupportAssist diagnostic, helping detect and prevent technical issues before they impact a match.
The computers will be deployed across the globe and “establishes a consistently high-performance standard, much like traditional sports have done in the past across a range of equipment such as game balls, bats, sticks and pucks,” Aletaha said.
“We are thrilled to be able to tap into Alienware and Dell’s unmatched expertise in hardware and technology services to set the gold standard for the official equipment that will power our sport,” she said.
Mastercard has a long history of sponsoring traditional sports, like Major League Baseball, PGA Tour, Rugby World Cup, and UEFA Champions League, among others.
“Esports 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,” Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar said at the time of the 2018 Mastercard announcement. “Our Priceless platform is built around connecting with people through their passions.”
Like Mastercard, Dell Alienware will also work with Riot Games for onsite fan activations at all the major League of Legends Esports events to help further the fan attraction of the events.
Along with Alienware and Mastercard, Riot Games is bringing a similar approach to sponsors at a regional level across the globe. In the U.S., the regional sponsorship is State Farm.
Riot Games also has partnerships with Kia in Europe, Mercedes-Benz, and KFC in China, and Gillette in Brazil. The major brands have recognized the growth and significance of esports across the globe and are buying into the industry and its potential opportunities.
“The growth of the business of esports overall is incredibly exciting,” Aletaha said. “We’re very encouraged by the meaningful commitment that such respected and recognized brands are making in the space.”
Aletaha said the partnership has roots dating back to CES 2018, when she met key decision makers from the company for the first time. She said major industry conventions are invaluable to her job.
“We very quickly realized as that first meeting that we are both relentlessly committed to elevating the gaming experience for our audience and to the continued technological innovation and overall growth of esports.
“We knew right then and there that partnership was a no-brainer.”