The 2024 LCS season started as eight franchised teams battled it out on Summoner’s Rift. Riot Games brought back classic partners like Red Bull and Mastercard, and debuted a new league sponsor, Kia America.
In addition to the main broadcast, which was multi-streamed on both YouTube and Twitch, the LCS invited seven co-streamers in the opening week. These co-streamers included top voices within League of Legends like Doublelift, LS, Meteos, and more. Across all broadcasts of the event, there were over 85,000 average concurrent viewers and the event had a total watch time of over 1 million hours.
Zoomph had a pulse on the sponsor integrations throughout the weekend to try and understand the innovative methods Riot Games deployed for their partners in the 11th season of the LCS.
Riot Games originally partnered with Mastercard for the League of Legends 2018 World Championship, but immediately succeeding the event, Mastercard became the exclusive financial services partner for the 2019 LCS Season. This year, Mastercard was the presenting sponsor of the 2024 LCS Opening Week and The Player of the Week. The logo was implemented as a digital overlay during most of the two days of competition. There is also an incentive to enter a giveaway for anyone who uses a Mastercard product at check out for a chance to win. FlyQuest also has a partnership with Mastercard which sees the logo on their game day jerseys.
Secretlab has been an endemic partner with Riot Games since 2019 and continues to make its mark across the Riot ecosystem. In addition to the special edition chairs that Secretlab collaborates with Riot Games on, all chairs on the stage are Secretlab chairs. Often, players are seen leaning forward which gives Secretlab valuable brand exposure in moments like Champion Select or Game Pauses with player POVs being full screen.
The iconic Red Bull Baron Powerplay has been a staple within the LCS since 2019. Riot Games continues to innovate on this partnership by adding more onto the moment a team secures baron buff. A full-screen takeover is shown whenever Baron Nashor is slain, and even before a team secures the objective, there is an in-game integration of the Red Bull logo draped on a banner inside of the pit. Over the years, the Baron Powerplay continues to be a staple part of the LCS. Cloud9 also has a partnership with Red Bull which sees the logo on their game day jerseys.
A seamless integration of a partnership between Samsung and Riot Games was made to implement Samsung SSDs into all computers in which LCS games are played on. Partnering in 2020, the LCS is a beacon for Samsung to market their product to fans and through placing Samsung branding at hot spots in-game. Through analysis of the broadcast, Zoomph was able to catch the Samsung in-game integration a total of 227 times during play.
The newest sponsor of the LCS, Kia is optimistic to make a mark in their first year of partnership with the LCS. In addition to sponsoring Cloud9 and NRG, two of the top teams in the league, Kia is hoping to integrate the brand more into the broadcast as well as the spectacle of the tournament itself. The MVP, All-Pro Team, and Rookie of the Year awards will be sponsored by Kia (the MVP award was last sponsored by Honda in 2021), and there are plans to give back to the fans through activities being run at the Riot Games studios where LCS games are played. It will be interesting to see how Kia America will take lessons from their NBA relationships to activate within the LCS.
The implementation of the league’s five partners has gone off to a great start. In addition to these innovative ways of brand integration, the LCS still offers the product of a rotating bug that cycles between partners on a 30-second interval in-game, and a 15-second interval during breaks. The LCS also gives its partners the opportunity to show in-stream ads for their offerings. Each partner is given a chance to shine within the broadcast, so it will be interesting to see how Riot Games continues to innovate, and if these partner integrations will encourage more brands to form a relationship with the LCS.