Are LoL Podcasts Oversaturated?
League of Legends (LoL) is one of the biggest esports, if not the most significant, esport in the world. One of the hallmark features of the LoL scene is its vibrant content creation scene. Multiple articles, videos, and podcasts are available for fans. These features ensure that they have esports content throughout the week outside of match days.
Podcasts are one of the most popular content mediums. Their primarily auditory nature means that fans can consume the content while doing other things, like driving, chores, or even playing games. They allow fans to enjoy interactions between their favorite LoL esports personalities and lay down the groundwork for exciting discussions.
The recently announced partnership between platform Spotify and LoL developer Riot Games could herald a new era of podcasts for content-hungry fans.
The driving question in the wake of their announcement is what angle the new podcasts could cover. The LoL content scene is already vibrant with podcasts. It will be interesting to see what niches remain unfulfilled.
— Spotify News (@SpotifyNews) August 24, 2020
What are the popular independent podcasts?
The oldest premier LoL podcast was Summoning Insight, launched in 2014. Co-hosted by journalist Duncan “Thorin” Shields and personality Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, Summoning Insight is a weekly podcast with the two hosts discussing that week’s matches. They are often joined by guests who vary from players to coaches to other prominent figures in the LoL scene.
Summoning Insight is the seminal esports podcast that epitomizes many of the product features of the medium. With only a simple graphic and streaming webcam video, the minimalist format relies on the personalities to carry the show and rarely, if ever, has other features like pre-recorded videos or segments.
Thorin hosts and appears on other LoL-focused podcasts. One of the most prominent is The Crackdown, alongside host Christian “IWillDominate” Rivera. It is very similar to Summoning Insight in format.
IWillDominate, also known as Dom, is also the co-host of the Facecheck podcast. He partners with former Golden Guardians manager Daniel “dGon” Gonzales and commentator Nick “LS” De Cesare for the show. The Facecheck podcast is similar to Summoning Insight and The Crackdown but with a live producer’s added elements.
Another prominent podcast is Hotline League, co-hosted by journalist Travis Gafford and desk analyst Mark “MarkZ” Zimmerman. Its twist on the Summoning Insight formula is a call-in option that allows fans to ask questions on the show.
For next week’s Summoning Insight, who would you like to have on the show with me and @thorin to discuss LPL finals?
— MonteCristo (@MonteCristo) April 29, 2020
What are the official Riot LoL podcasts?
Riot Games began production of its weekly podcasts following in the wake of Summoning Insight’s popularity. They are notable for their higher production values, produced live in a studio overseen by producers.
The Dive launched in 2017. Focusing on the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) in North America, The Dive features LCS commentators Sam “Kobe” Hartman-Kenzler and Isaac “Azael” Cummings Bentley. The third host was Joshua “Jatt” Leesman till his departure and is now MarkZ. The show has typically only the three hosts without guests discussing that week’s news.
EUphoria launched in 2018. Focusing on the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) in Europe, EUphoria features LEC commentators Daniel “Drakos” Drakos and Martin “Deficio” Lynge. After Deficio departed from the broadcast team, new commentator Indiana “Froskurinn” Black took co-host position. EUphoria is similar to The Dive with an additional segment with a player guesting.
The POG State launched in 2020. Focusing on the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) in South Korea, the Pog State features LCK commentators LS and Max “Atlus” Anderson.
From the lull state to the POG state, welcome to THE POG STATE with Atlus & LS.
Youtube : https://t.co/cWi1v8BRrr
— The POG State Podcast (@PogState) February 17, 2020
What does the Spotify and Riot partnership mean?
The original platforms for many LoL podcasts were Twitch and YouTube but have gradually grown to encompass other podcast-focused media.
The Spotify and Riot Games partnership will see the production of various new exclusive podcasts. Per the official announcement by Spotify:
Spotify and Riot Games are working to create and launch several new League of Legends podcasts. Untold Stories: Top Moments from Worlds, a 9-episode series leading up to the 10th League of Legends World Championship this fall, will be the first. Listeners will be able to hear about the top players and anthems through game highlights, recorded interviews, game sound effects, and new interviews with key players. Thanks to our extended partnership, we look forward to evolving this podcast over the years to come.
It seems likely that the partnership will center around the production of shorter, themed seasonal podcasts, rather than weekly podcasts tied to the league schedules. The pooled resources will likely see higher production values with more features and segments.
It is thus unlikely to directly compete with the current podcasts, either produced independently or produced by Riot. Instead, it seems to be filling a niche for pre-produced complex narrative content that fleshes out history or builds up to features.
For LoL fans who prefer a change from personality-focused podcasts, the Riot-Spotify partnership could provide structured content more to their tastes.