Riot cutting back on esports spending
According to a Reddit post made by ParachuteIsAKnapsack, also known as “FearGorm”, Riot will be cutting expenditure on their League of Legends esports event. This was specifically mentioned for the upcoming League of Legends World Championship tournament. While it’s still unclear to what is the extent of this expenditure cut when compared to last year’s 2017 League of Legends World Championship in China, it seems certain that this year’s budget for the Worlds will be lower.
FearGorm had a fair bit of “PR talk”, justifying that Riot’s decision to lower their investment came in light of the fact that it had become a financially poor continuation. They also mentioned that previous high spending in esports was due to it still being in “start up” mode, compared to now, where it’s considered to be a “mature business”. As a result, FearGorm implied that since the foundation for League of Legends esports has been established, Riot is no longer able to take a loss in the business side for their esports division.
If Riot considered esports as an investment, and an expenditure to further develop the game’s presence in general, they should be expected to take an initial loss. An investment is after all a current sacrifice for future gain; in this case, for the long term survival of the game in general as it provides entertainment to millions.
The post clearly stated that if their esports’ revenues did not increase in the past three years, Riot would certainly have to decrease their esports budget.
While the post mentions that their cost cutting is not a result of Riot’s strained relationship with Tencent, their parent company who has been recently exerting pressure due to decreasing profit, it is likely to be the case.
With regards to the 2018 League of Legends World Championships, Riot has already trailed a number of very significant budget cuts.
A lot of the casters will be casting the matches from their home soil, with North American caster staying in NA. Riot claimed they now have the technology to enable casters to provide the same feel and excitement as on site. Additionally, this year’s world event will be held in Incheon, a much smaller city / venue compared to last year’s Beijing National Stadium.
There has been a great deal of negative feedback and reactions on Reddit, and rightfully so. League of Legends should be increasing investment in esports if anything, with their Worlds event being their biggest hit bringing in millions of viewers worldwide. Considering the decline of the game, Riot should place greater effort in the game’s promotion to bring back inactive players as well as getting new players started.