With Riot’s recent confirmation of Worlds 2020 comes lucrative broadcasting rights. Chinese video site Bilibili has reportedly agreed to pay Riot $113M over three years for exclusive rights to the Chinese broadcast for just three events - the upcoming Worlds, MSI and All-Stars.
Riot has confirmed its deal with Chinese video site Bilibili for LoL Worlds, MSI, All-Star broadcast rights in China— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 3, 2020
Bilibili reportedly paid Riot 3M over 3 yrs for just three events and one region. makes Activision Blizzard's OWL/ CDL Twitch/YouTube deals look like peanuts
The deal is massive considering its limited scope - three events, one region - and speaks to both LoL’s appeal within China and the growing competition within the scene to acquire rights to esports events.
2020 is LoL’s 10th anniversary and Worlds was set to be Riot’s tour de force; a capstone to a year in which Riot unveiled a raft of new games, a LoL based anime and looked to push their flagship MOBA to new heights. While a global pandemic has certainly put Riot’s plans in jeopardy, the fact that Worlds are occurring at all - in a LAN environment, no less - and that they have acquired an impressive broadcast rights deal as well, is a big win for the company, especially considering the recent announcements that international sporting events in China were to be cancelled.
Of course, this hasn’t come without concessions. Worlds will only be taking place in one city, Shanghai, rather than a country-wide tour and stringent “bubble” protocols are being put in place to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection. Live audiences are also highly unlikely.
As a result, Riot has also announced that Worlds 2021 will also be held in China to account for the diminished showing this year. This also means that North America’s turn to host Worlds is going to be pushed back a year to 2022, with the regular rotation between major regions as hosts continuing from there.
Worlds are set to occur in Shanghai, beginning on 25/09/2020.