The League of Legends World Championship is the biggest tournament of the year and it seems like Riot is doubling down on their commitment to esports. In a recent blog post, President of Esports at Riot Games, John Needham, explained what they're doing to make esports as sustainable and long-lasting as possible.
With many esports org owners fearing for the longevity of esports and the ecosystem, John Needham reassures fans that Riot is committed to keep bringing grand esports events to viewers and fans, as well as what they're planning on doing in the long run.
LoL Worlds 2023: Riot To Test Out "Virtual Pass" At Tournament
In the blog post Needham goes over how esports differs from regular sports. One of the key differences is that esports is global, while much of sports are based on city affiliations. We've had some esports try to establish "city" affiliated teams, but has that ever truly worked out?
That's why Riot is looking to further expand their global viewership, as well as introduce more novice viewers, especially through co-streams where streamers can help viewers who never watched epsorts before take their first steps into this community.
Broadcast was also another part which was very different from sports, since most broadcasting stations pay the big bucks to feature the biggest sports leagues on their channels. Esports does not have this, hence why developers have their own broadcasting sites, like lolesports.com.
- Support your favorite esports team with some merch! How about a Cloud9 hoodie just in time for MSI 2023?
Needham explained that in the future Riot wants to create more user-specific interactions through the interface with viewers, but that for now they're going to test out something new to try and bring the IRL feeling to any of the fans who are going to watch from home, which most will do, especially with Worlds 2023 being in South Korea.
Riot is going to introduce the "Virtual Pass" which should give fans:
- A rich online Worlds viewing experience;
- A bundle of products and services at a tremendous value;
- More ways to express their fandom and excitement.
The pass should include digital products like an exclusive variant of the Worlds skin, in-game event pass and other extras, as well as other rewards like merch and other digital and physical goods from World Championship and League of Legends sponsors.
This is the first initial test of the Virtual Pass and if it goes well, then Riot is looking to expand into VALORANT esports as well with it, as well as make team specific passes for fans who want to support their favorite teams as well.
We’re intentionally building this “Virtual Pass” in a way that we can have team-specific versions with team-branded virtual and physical goods
This is an interesting initiative that Riot is working towards. Will this be a success or a huge flop? Having more T1 merch would be nice though, not going to lie...