Riot Games announces Virtual Pass in bid to help teams generate revenue

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Image credit: Riot Games

Game developer Riot Games has announced in a blog post that it is building a virtual ticket programme for its major events, which looks to enhance the fan experience and generate revenue for teams.

Tentatively dubbed the Virtual Pass, the project is set to debut at the 2023 League of Legends World Championship. Riot said the pass would have esports team-specific variants and contain a bundle of digital and physical goods.

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The upcoming product was announced by Riot Games’ President of Esports, John Needham, in a blog post going into detail on his and Riot’s esports philosophy.

Needham said the pass was designed to give viewers more ways to express their fandom, create a rich online World Championship viewing experience and support esports team revenues.

Needham revealed in the post that Riot is specifically designing the Virtual Pass to have team-specific versions that fans can buy to support their chosen team, in an effort to better financially support the esports organisations in its ecosystems.

Team-branded virtual and physical goods will be included in the team-specific passes, as well as a host of other as-yet unconfirmed features, such as potential access to pro team rooms, exclusive chat channels with pro teams, and the ability to interact with pro players.

The digital products in the pass are slated to include exclusive in-game skin variants, in-game passes, exclusive content, as well as physical and digital goods from Riot’s sponsors.

Riot added it is hoping to expand the pass to VALORANT’s VCT league in ‘2024 and beyond’, as well as build out new features. Those new features may potentially include premium in-game cameras, exclusive chat channels and lounges, digital collectibles and potentially even on-broadcast messages.

“We’re building a virtual ticket programme that will both enhance the fan experience watching our events online and also generate revenue,” Needham said in the post.

“If we design this product right, it will deliver great experiences and connect fans with their favourite players and teams, while simultaneously creating a new revenue stream for teams.”

A slate of other facts, figures and insights were revealed in Needham’s sweeping blog post. Esports Insider will have a breakdown of the key takeaways of that post soon.

Jake Nordland
Jake has worked at Esports Insider as a journalist and editor since early 2021. Now ESI's Media Manager, he continues to act as lead editor of print magazine The Esports Journal, and contributes his words to the website from time to time.