Riot announced huge plans back in December that threatened to permanently change the way League of Legends is viewed. They signed a partnership then with Major League Baseball's technology services arm, BAMTech to produce a new streaming platform that would exclusively service the LCS through 2023. The deal made headlines due to its enormous price tag. BAMTech paid a princely $300 million for the deal, a number which was certainly a first in the eSports world.
Details on the project have been far from forthcoming in the meantime, however, and the ETA for the new platform has been a complete mystery, at least up until now. Jarred Kennedy, the co-head of eSports, Merchandise, and Licensing for Riot Games, recently spoke on a conference panel for South by Southwest about the deal and mentioned that he couldn't disclose an exact date, but promised the platform would be done "soon".
He also had a few remarks about why Riot had chosen BAMTech for the deal in the first place. He claimed that they were "one of the most flexible potential partners" when it came to making a roadmap for the potential partnership.
"I think it’s since BAM works on the digital side, they view the world as more open versus having a particular playbook. It was easier to say, ‘Hey, what if we tried this? Or, what if we tried that?’ … That was really exciting to us,” Kennedy said. “We weren’t necessarily coming in with a set playbook. We know that there are things that work in the marketplace and trust their expertise on those things, but we also know that the market is evolving. We want to be leaders and innovators like WWE was when they came into the market and helped shape it. We think it’s going to continue to change, and we found in BAM a partner that not only has the technical expertise but also on the monetization and commercialization side, they’re quite sophisticated.”
Kennedy also confirmed that Riot has "no intention of having a subscription service of any kind", but he didn't exclude the possibility of a premium offering after the platform's launch. For fans of the LCS, hopefully that means that their favorite eSport remains as easily accessible as it has in the past.