The League of Legends Championship Series will join forces with cryptocurrency exchange FTX in a new seven-year sponsorship, according to a report from Dot Esports that was later confirmed in an official announcement.
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) August 3, 2021
On June 4, TSM announced a 10-year, $210 million deal with the crypto giant that included naming rights. TSM was barred from including FTX in its name at Riot Games events due to rules implemented by Riot that prohibit certain sponsorship activations related to cryptocurrency. TSM social media accounts, and teams competing in titles without restrictions on cryptocurrency sponsorships, have rebranded as well. Meanwhile the team remains as “TSM” within the LCS and VALORANT Champions Tour.
As a part of the deal with Riot Games, the exchange will sponsor various LCS gold-related graphic assets and statistics. This includes gold-related graphs, total team gold and player net worth beginning on Aug. 6. FTX will also sponsor the new Most Improved Player Award which will be voted on by players, broadcast talent, media partners and team staff. FTX is the LCS’ first cryptocurrency sponsor and will add to a sponsorship roster that includes Grubhub, Honda, Mastercard and Bud Light. None of the financial terms for the deal have been disclosed.
According to Dot Esports’ sources, Riot will have the ability to remove any FTX branding from assets during international broadcasts in countries with strict cryptocurrency regulations or other related restrictions. TSM would still be prohibited from wearing FTX-branded jerseys or other apparel items at such events. LCS rules still prohibit certain cryptocurrency exchanges from partnering with LCS orgs. Additionally, teams like TSM still have to adhere to the activation restrictions that are in place.
Riot Games Head of Esports for NA and OCE (and interim LCS Commissioner) Chris Greely provided Upcomer with a statement on the further implications of the partnership surrounding current LCS rules.
“Our partnership with FTX does not change our league-wide stance on cryptocurrency exchange sponsors,” Greeley said. “LCS activations with FTX can be removed from broadcast when needed in regions that limit cryptocurrency advertising. A sponsor that appears on apparel or other non-digital activation cannot.”
FTX has made significant moves in the sports and entertainment space in 2021. In June, the company won a naming rights bid that would change the name of NBA team Miami Heat’s home arena from American Airlines Arena to FTX Arena.