The now-defunct crypto exchange FTX signed many massive sponsorship deals in its heyday, including promising League of Legends developer Riot Games nearly $100 million as a part of its agreement to sponsor Riot’s League Championship Series (LCS) esports competition, documents in the Sam Bankman-Fried legal trial have revealed. The sum of FTX’s Riot deal was published as part of the criminal trial proceedings unfolding in New York this month, as disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried faces seven charges of crimes including alleged wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. The value of the deal was never previously disclosed.
FTX agreed to sponsor Riot’s League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) in 2021 as part of a seven-year deal that would automatically renew in 2028 unless either party disputed it, according to a spreadsheet shared Monday that details FTX’s myriad sponsorships. The exhibit shows that Riot’s LCS was to be paid $4 million of the total in 2021, $12.5 million of the total in 2022, and another roughly $12.8 million this year, with annual recurring payments until the close of the deal.
It’s unclear how much of these totals were paid out to Riot and TSM before FTX’s collapse, however, which occurred in November 2022. Riot Games and TSM have not yet responded to Decrypt’s requests for comment to confirm the amount of funds promised—and how much was ultimately paid before the exchange folded late last year.
This news reveals the massive amounts of money FTX was spending on sponsorships, particularly in the esports world, prior to its collapse. It is unclear how much of the money was actually paid out, but the potential of $100 million to Riot Games and $210 million to TSM is a testament to how much the crypto industry was investing in esports. Unfortunately, the ongoing crypto bear market has led to a cooling of momentum around crypto/esports tie-ups.
You can read more about this topic here: Decrypt: FTX Promised $100M to Maker of SBF’s Favorite Game ‘League of Legends’