This Week in Esports: Riot and the NA LCS, Vodafone, Las Vegas and Thorin

Another seven days fly by in esports. The week started slow in terms of industry news but picked up as time went by with some noteworthy announcements on Thursday and Friday to beckon us into the month of June.

The most discussed news item of the week will undoubtedly be Riot’s decision to offer costly franchise spots in the NA LCS. Elsewhere, Las Vegas has paved the way for esports betting with the Senate Bill 240, Thorin became an ambassador of ESP (Esportspools) and mouz signed up its second big name sponsor in as many weeks in the form of Vodafone. There was also a partnership agreed between BT Productions (part of BT Sport) and London based creative agency Attention Seekers which will see far more esports and gaming content arriving on BT in some form and at some point. 

Copyright: convisum / 123RF Stock Photo

Remember, you can sign up to our esports industry newsletter, the ESI Dispatch here, for a once weekly report to ensure you never miss a trick. 

Riot offer franchise spots for the NA LCS

Riot announced details of its plans to franchise spots in its NA LCS series this week. These slots are worth $10m (£7.7m) a go for exisiting organisations, giving the reports of Overwatch League slots a run for their (incredible amounts of) money. 

This model will not go live until 2018 and there will be a revenue share clause. Another notable and impressive stat is that players will see a minimum salary of $75,000 (£58,000). The players too will have an opportunity to share in the league’s revenues, and there’ll be a Players’ Association. 

Read all about it here. 

Thorin becomes an ambassador of ESP

Esports historian and expert Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields became an ambassador for ESP, an esports focused fantasy and betting operator. The Canadian company has been in business since 2015 and is looking to expand its offering in esports betting.

Thorin said of the partnership: “I am very excited to work with ESP moving forward. There are many shady betting sites trying to enter the esports space. However, ESP is nothing like that. They make sure everything is done by the book, ethically, and they care about the safety of the users. ESP’s product is very well cut, and I am looking forward to using it myself.”

Find out more here. 

Vodafone announced as head sponsor of mousesports

After an exciting announcement last week in which it was revealed that mouz had got Dr.Pepper on board, this week saw an even more impressive achievement. With the help of JvM Sports Agency, the head sponsor of mousesports will henceforth be none other than Vodafone. You can read about it here

The same colours means it’s an ideal fit and a huge company to sponsor the German organisation in which is arguably the biggest fortnight it their history. 

“In Vodafone, we have found a strong and attractive brand that shares our passion and wants to shape the growth of mousesports and esports together. Connectivity is the lifeblood of esports and we are glad to not only have gained the best, but also the internationally most renowned partner”, commented mousesports CEO Cengiz Tüylü.

Las Vegas and Senate Bill 420

Droit d'auteur: elnur / 123RF Banque d'images

There has already been some, very limited, regulated esports betting taking place in Las Vegas to date. That could all be set to change after Brian Sandoval, Nevada State Governor, signed a bill (Senate Bill 420) which essentially paves the way for esports betting to be legalised in the state.

This is no great surprise considering the amount of casinos making their move into esports in the past six months. Read all about it here, and more information on why it’s a very exciting time for esports in Las Vegas right now. 

BT Productions agrees partnership with Attention Seekers

Following its coverage of FIFA on BT Sport, the channel isn’t satiated. BT Productions has agreed a deal with creative agency Attention Seekers which’ll bring more gaming and esports content to BT Sport. 

The agency, which has previously worked with the likes of EA and Xbox One, will work in BT’s Stratford studio and look to put together a series of programmes focused on gaming and esports. No more specifics have yet been revealed about the content. 

Phil Tucker, Attention Seekers Founder commented: “We are great admirers of BT’s forward thinking as evident from its approach to sports broadcasting and firmly believe this partnership will deliver programming that will position gaming as part of the mainstream entertainment mix, be it pro-esports, competitive gaming or entertainment based Gaming formats.”

The full story can be accessed here.