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Verizon ramps up esports presence with LCS sponsorship

(Photo by Kyle Miller/ESPAT Media/Getty Images)

US-based mobile network Verizon has signed a three-year deal to sponsor Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship Series (LCS).

Verizon will become the North American league’s Official 5G Wireless and Network Service Partner and will work with Riot Games and the LCS on 5G innovation and content collaboration.

The sponsorship kicked off with Verizon’s sponsorship of the LCS’s summer season, just started.

Verizon also joins the LCS broadcast as presenting partner for ‘Academy Rush’, a broadcast segment in the style of the NFL RedZone, featuring simultaneous matches from the LCS’s minor league. In addition, Verizon will act as partner on post-LCS match interview segments.

LCS matches are streamed on Riot Games’ Lol Esports, Twitch, and YouTube.

Verizon has connected with esports fans during the Covid-19 pandemic through ‘Pay It Forward Live’, a weekly music and gaming streaming series in support of small businesses.

The content drew nearly 90 million views through the 10 weeks of the series. Nearly 40 million viewers tuned in to the weekly gaming events featuring esports pros.

Other esports-related projects include Verizon’s ‘5G Lab in LA’, which, last year, became the first 5G esports training facility in the US, and serves as the Dignitas esports organisation’s west coast headquarters.

Verizon also teamed up with the NFL for the ‘5G NFL Mobile Gaming Challenge, which called on US-based game developers to create a football-themed mobile game that harnessed the power of its 5G services.

Verizon signed a five-year sponsorship deal with the NFL in December 2017, which gave the company rights to stream in-market and national NFL games via digital and mobile platforms

Last year, the brand exited a major sponsorship deal in US sport when it ceded the NBA’s official wireless category rights to long-time rival AT&T. Verizon has continued sponsoring the NBA as a content partner.