HBO and Riot Games have agreed to advertise the upcoming Game of Thrones fourth season in the company’s popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) League of Legends. As it stands, the game with over 67 million players, has two other sponsors each supporting the game’s Challenger Series where those in the top 200 of all players in a server base play for a chance at the championship. Coka Cola and American Express logos have been used in the game’s Challenger Series while an exclusive League of Legends based American Express card was available.
Reddit posts on League of Legends’ subreddit has mentioned the lack of advertisements during the League Championship Series (LCS) and although the ad campaign will not run long enough to get exposure during the LCS, the crossover possibility between Game of Thrones and League of Legends could spell future sponsorship opportunities and in-game skin parallels.
As it stands the logo for the new season will be subtly presented during LCS games until the reveal of the season begins in April. Head of eSports at Riot Games Dustin Beck interviewed with [a]listdaily.com to talk about the new partnership. A mash-up trailer for the fourth season of Game of Thrones and League of Legends is in the works Beck and others at Riot Games have been granted insider knowledge into some of the events of season four in preparation for the trailer.
The deal was done through a cold call from HBO to Riot Games. The demographics of both the Game of Thrones and League of Legends were deemed close enough to create a sponsorship opportunity. Beck explains that the connection between Game of Thrones and League of Legends allows for a seamless integration of different Game of Thrones elements. He states that he does not want Riot Games to look like a NASCAR vehicle with tons of different sponsorships riddled around the site and the series. Selective sponsorship choices that will improve the game in some way are the target and the mentality on gaming is what has given Riot Games such a close connection with its fanbase.
The free-to-play model of League of Legends and others has been far more successful than projected by critics and inspired the documentary Free to Play:The Movie. Game of Thrones appearing on a market of over 67 million players is a huge boost in exposure for the next season of the popular television series. Though Riot games averages less than four minutes of ad time per hour and television usually has around fifteen minutes of ad space, the focused approach done by Riot Games shows a deeper connection between the advertiser and the ad itself.
This agreement between HBO’s Game of Thrones and Riot Game’s League of Legends to advertise in Riot’s game will benefit both parties. Players of League of Legends may get additional content thanks to the connection with HBO and HBO watchers will get a real treat when the crossover is created and released. The crossover is bound to get more players for riot and more watchers on HBO.
By Andy Diaz