E-sports are a pretty big deal. Making money from e-sports, however… that’s something even the top 10 rpg games for pc, like Riot Games, have yet to master. Big e-sports pushes are often referred to as “marketing expenses” meant to generate interest in the main game, not produce revenue on their own in the way that, say, a Major League Baseball game does.
Riot Games may be looking to change that soon, though, with the help of a division of Major League Baseball. The L.A. Times reports that Riot is close to finalizing a $200 million deal with Major League Baseball Advanced Media “to sell streaming rights for e-sports matches,” which could have major ramifications (one expert called it “a groundbreaking moment”) on how people consume their e-sports content.
While advertising revenue for Twitch streams is not insignificant, it likely pales in comparison to what major sports leagues get for all the beer and truck ads you see on a typical TV broadcast. By affiliating themselves with a branch of Major League Baseball (Disney and the NHL also hold smaller stakes in the company behind the streaming tech), Riot could likely draw upon more of those high-yield ads as well as introduce a paid service — possibly via a specialized app — to provide even more revenue that directly comes from viewers.