In a news post on the League of Legends esports’ page, Riot announced the release of Summoner’s Rift Arena Banners, a “digital product” intended to display ads or sponsor logos from companies. These banners will be showing up starting next month during the Summer Split matches.
The image on Riot’s news post shows the logo for MasterCard, a major credit card company. Along with MasterCard, the Alienware brand (a subsidiary of Dell) is also on board as an advertiser.
Riot explained further that the banners will only be visible for people who are watching a match. The players themselves will only see a standard Summoner’s Rift without any sort of branding or advertising.
We see this as an important next step to help our leagues and teams reach their next stage of growth. Summoner’s Rift Arena Banners, along with products like Pro View and Watch Missions, allow us to build experiences that integrate with the core League of Legends game to give players and viewers more ways to engage with the sport.
Riot is also promising that further products will be announced prior to the start of the Summer Split.
There is, obviously, no word regarding how much of that ad revenue will be directed to individual leagues. And while two major brand names are impressive, it seems unusual that other computer and gaming brands have not been announced.
This may be because negotiations are still ongoing and their presence will be part of future announcements in the run-up to the Summer Split. Or it may be that other brands have been contacted and declined to get involved.
How exactly this will enhance the fan experience is also open to conjecture. It’s one thing to see branding and advertising from major sponsors at tournament venues where the players are actually gathered. But seeing them in the game, particularly with such a limited number, may not have the effect Riot is looking for.