Riot Games, the world’s leading esports game developer and publisher, and Bayes Esports, the central hub of the global esports data industry, have announced today that they will extend their exclusive data partnership ahead of schedule. The Berlin-based tech-company will keep exclusive worldwide distribution rights for virtually all League of Legends (LoL) competitions until 2024. These rights include live in-game data, fixture data and audiovisual rights for the betting industry.
The early extension ensures that LoL data will continue to be reliably available to the industry, while also helping to maintain the sports competitive integrity. Riot Games and Bayes Esports have co-innovated since 2019 and have heavily invested in advanced technologies that bring value to customers and tailored solutions to fit the needs of the teams and players. Recent parts of their successful cooperation were the expansion of the Team Data Portal and the inclusion of additional regional leagues in the contract. “The forefront of our partnership was initially focused on the distribution and commercialization of data to third parties. But through great conversations with Bayes Esports, the community and the teams, we have learned that together we can achieve so much more to support the continuous growth and success of LoL Esports”, says John Knauss, Technical Product Manager at Riot Games.
The strategic technology partnership between Riot and Bayes “is an essential component to strengthen the esports ecosystem and contribute to the sport’s sustainability. Riot and Bayes launched the first official data offering of any game publisher back in 2019. We jointly laid the groundwork for data integrity and sustainability, and we’re beyond excited to take the partnership to the next level”, adds Bayes Esports COO Amir Mirzaee, who considers the broad availability of official data as the next most important key factor of success for the future of esports.
In the following paragraphs Mirzaee reflects on how the next years look to be ones for sustained growth of the esports industry as a whole.
Strategic technology partnerships
The complex ecosystems emerging across industries are creating a need for a collaborative and community approach where partners can co-create innovation and co-sell together. Over the years, our partnership with Riot Games has evolved from distributing data to engaging with the betting and media industry, to collaboratively innovating the game data tech stack from the ground up. On both sides, there was a joint understanding that this cooperation would play a critical role in shaping the future of the LoL esports ecosystem and its community. To this end, our tech teams have worked together to establish a League of Legends community data portal that allows various types of community members to access a variety of historic data, from game replays to scrimmage data— securely and privately. This is an absolute breakthrough in the professionalization of esports, especially for pro teams that need this data to improve their game.
Authenticity & “no Bullshit”
The Esports sector is synonymous with the younger generation, which sometimes makes it challenging for brands led by an older demographic to authentically penetrate these communities. I am often asked how esports brands can overcome this potential conflict of generation going forward. My suggestion for Generation “no BS” (“no Bullshit”) would be to keep it authentic, show some genuine interest and invest in the ecosystem. The good news is, just like Red Bull claimed Extreme Sports for themselves by facilitating amazing events and experience, you have literally hundreds of millions of esports fans eager to go out and engage with the sport. Brands can engage, support in making memorable experiences happen, and leave a lasting mark.
Official data is one of the most important components to the future success of the esports industry. It is the key to improved integrity and player protection. Why? Because esports is a digitally native sport. If esports had an autobiography, it should be titled “A Different Beast”. From advertisers to operators, traditional market participants are having a hard time with esports because they are trying to handle it like traditional sports. But esports is a lot more complex and fragmented than any other sport. In this ecosystem, matches may be played on-site or off-site, data delays may vary, any sort of standards across leagues and even within game titles are basically non-existent, data sources may be unclear. Offering official game data means bringing structure to any content offering in esports, be it betting, news, analytics or any other form.