ESPN has entered a broadcasting partnership with Riot Games to air the LCS Spring Split Playoffs, starting on April 8th.
As part of the deal, ESPN will serve as the official linear and authenticated streaming platform in the United States for the remainder of the competition.
The deal will kick off with 100 Thieves playing TSM, with the action being broadcast live on both ESPN.com and the ESPN application – the latter of which will house VODs of each game “immediately following competition.” All matches that follow will be aired live on ESPN2.
John Lasker, Vice President of Digital Programming at ESPN, spoke on the decision in a release: “We’re excited to work with Riot Games to create innovative content opportunities around this amazing franchise system. Showcasing one of the most popular esports in the world with the LCS’ Spring Split playoffs allows ESPN to serve new audiences.”
Earlier this year, Riot Games expanded its partnership with Nielsen to implement a new viewership system for the LCS. Entitled ‘live+,’ the system measures VOD viewership “more accurately than ever before.”
Chris Greeley, LCS Commissioner at Riot Games, added: “Now more than ever, coming together to watch and enjoy elite competitive gaming has the power to unite us as a community. We’re thrilled to bring the very best of the LCS to new audiences and existing fans through this partnership and look forward to some high-skill games on the Rift as we crown a new Spring champion.”
Esports Insider says: Considering there’s a drought when it comes to traditional sports, it was expected to see ESPN embrace esports in such a way for the foreseeable future. LCS is a big deal in North America, understandably, so it seems like a sensible choice for the company. We hope it pulls major numbers!