Chinese streaming platform, Bilibili, is reportedly set to pay $113 million over three years for exclusive Chinese broadcasting rights of the League of Legends: World Championship.
League of Legends’ World Championships have soared in popularity over the years, with the 2019 edition smashing viewership records on Twitch.
The game has also seen increased interest in China, especially as both the 2018 and 2019 champions hail from the Asian country. By that logic, it makes sense that streaming rights for the next Worlds' would cost an arm and a leg. However, Bilibili are allegedly set to fork out an incredible sum.
According to a Chinese media outlet, hollobi, streaming platform, Bilibili, are set to purchase exclusive rights to broadcast LoL Worlds for $113 million.
This is set to be a huge change for viewers of the World Championship in China, as the event was not previously exclusive — meaning that fans formerly had multiple website choices to enjoy the event.
If this deal does go through, it will be one of the biggest in esports history. For comparison, Twitch secured exclusivity over Blizzard’s Overwatch League, where the streaming platform paid $90 million over two years for broadcasting rights.
The amount of money being spent in esports continues to increase year-on-year, as viewership numbers continue to snowball. As an example of esports' continued growth, Echo Fox’s LCS slot cost the team $10 million in 2018, but was sold for over $30 million in 2019.
With League of Legends continuing to grow, we will likely see record-breaking numbers in the future. Of course, it will be interesting to see the price of the next exclusivity deal.
It’s important to note that this deal only affects Worlds' Chinese broadcast, so (as of right now) fans outside of the country will still be able to enjoy the event on their favorite platform.