After starting as an offshoot of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, designed to merely stream baseball games, BAMTech has pretty much taken over the sports streaming world. The unit, now backed by a $1 billion investment from Disney, has provided infrastructure for WatchESPN, the WWE, March Madness, the PGA Tour and Thursday Night Football, among other properties.
According to the Wall Street Journal, BAMTech is on the verge of announcing a partnership with Riot Games for the rights to stream “League of Legends” competitions. The company reportedly plans to launch a “League of Legends” streaming app and will also handle distribution of content on other platforms.
Per the Journal, BAMTech will pay $300 million for streaming rights, then split any revenues above $300 million with Riot.
“No other sport has seen this kind of global online audience for live events,” said Bob Bowman, MLB’s president of business and media, and chief of MLB Advanced Media.
BAMTech’s deal with Riot is similar to its tie-ups with the NHL and the Professional Golfers’ Association, in which it pays to stream content. Unlike those deals, Riot doesn’t plan a subscription fee for viewing “League” competitions, though it may charge for premium content in the future.
“Our goal has always been to build ‘League of Legends’ into a major global sport,” saidJarred Kennedy, director of e-sports at Riot. “We want our sport to be funded by itself and we think this deal is going to help us get there.”
E-Sports and and BAMTech are natural partners in one way: You had probably never heard of them a decade ago, and now they’re essential players in sports media.