Game publisher Riot Games has promoted Michael Sherman to Global Head of Esports for TeamFight Tactics, Legends of Runeterra, and Project L (the developer’s upcoming fighting game).
Sherman has been with Riot Games since 2014. Beginning his career with League of Legends’ collegiate program, he rose to Program Lead before being moved to the LCS in 2020, where he has managed the league’s marketing and communications.
In an announcement on LinkedIn, Sherman highlighted his dedication to serving each game’s community. “I’m extremely passionate about building esports alongside the community, and that will remain one of my top priorities moving into this new role,” he said.
Given that the role covers three distinct genres — auto-battlers, collectible card games, and fighting games — Sherman will be responsible for developing unique strategies to cater to the tastes of each audience. He will be instrumental in developing each title’s unique identity at their critical early stages.
One of the reasons for this appointment is that Riot’s current esports programming is catered to MOBA and tactical FPS fans. “We don’t think that what we’ve done for games like League of Legends and VALORANT will apply here,” Sherman said.
Sherman’s immediate duties will centre on TeamFight Tactics. Riot recently unveiled its plans for TFT esports through October of 2022 in EMEA and in North America. The plans show Riot is ramping up the scope of TFT esports, with plans to feature more tournaments, teams and larger prize pools.
The latest Gizmos and Gadgets World Championship brought in significant viewership, averaging 60K viewers for a total of 1.04m hours watched. Riot may be looking to introduce a more consistent tournament schedule to build on this momentum.
Many details about Project L, both as a game and an esport, have not yet been revealed. The fighting game will not be released until 2023 at the earliest. FGC fans are anxiously awaiting details about Riot’s plans for the title — particularly if Riot plans to run its own events or collaborate with existing FGC tournament organisers.
The Project L development team has strong connections to the FGC and the Evolution Championship Series (EVO), the premier event for fighting games. With Super Smash Bros. no longer being featured in EVO, Project L could fill the gap should Riot choose to participate.