Riot Games Sues Disgraced Crypto Exchange FTX in Epic Showdown Over League of Legends Sponsorship
Riot Games Files Legal Motion to End Partnership with FTX Over League of Legends Sponsorship
Riot Games, the developer behind the popular game League of Legends, has filed a legal motion to end its partnership with crypto exchange FTX. The motion was filed with the court handling FTX's bankruptcy, as Riot seeks to bring an end to the seven-year sponsorship deal signed with FTX last summer.
According to Riot, FTX still owes half of the $12.5 million agreed upon as part of the deal for including FTX branding at League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) events. But that's not all – the annual payment was supposed to increase over the duration of the sponsorship deal, with the first quarterly payment for 2023 scheduled to arrive on January 2. However, with FTX going through bankruptcy and its founder and former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, wanted in the US for charges of money laundering and fraud, it's highly unlikely that payment will be made.
But the motion doesn't just focus on the financial aspects of the partnership – it also takes a few jabs at Bankman-Fried's love of playing League of Legends. "Media outlets and Twitter commentators splashed images of Mr. Bankman-Fried playing League of Legends—Riot's game—at the same time that FTX was crashing," the filing reads. "Maybe the reputational damage would have been less severe if Bankman-Fried was actually good at the game, though ideally he would have just been better at running a cryptocurrency exchange." Ouch.
Despite the legal issues with FTX, Riot is reportedly still looking to replace the crypto exchange with another crypto-related advertising partner. "The longer Riot is prevented from commercializing the crypto-exchange sponsorship category and the assets currently owned by FTX, the more damage Riot incurs," the motion stated. It seems that one bad experience with a crypto sponsor isn't enough to deter Riot from exploring further tie-ups.
FTX's involvement with the gaming world doesn't end with its partnership with Riot – the cryto exchange also signed deals with esports organizations TSM and Furia. Last month, TSM announced that it was suspending its relationship with FTX. In 2021, FTX signed a record-breaking $210 million, ten-year sponsorship deal with TSM, which resulted in a name change for the esports organization to TSM FTX. However, with FTX's bankruptcy and legal issues, it's uncertain whether this deal will move forward.
FTX filed for bankruptcy last month after investigations into the company's finances caused a run on the exchange. Bankman-Fried is currently in the Bahamas, but is reportedly ready to waive extradition rights and surrender to the US to face charges. It's been a rocky few months for the crypto exchange, and it looks like its partnerships with gaming organizations may be coming to an end.
The full motion can be found here.
Overall, it's been a tumultuous time for FTX, and it looks like its partnership with Riot Games may be coming to a close. While it's always sad to see a sponsorship deal end, it's important for companies to protect their reputation and ensure they are partnering with trustworthy organizations. Here's hoping that Riot is able to find a new, reliable crypto sponsor to take FTX's place.
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