As the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) regular season comes to an end, so does the fantasy season for hundreds of thousands of players on Sleeper, a fantasy sports company that partnered with Riot Games in January 2021 to bring fantasy esports onto its app.
Before the partnership, the team at Sleeper had been interested in expanding its app to include esports, according to its co-founder, Weixi Yen.
“It was about three or four years ago, we had the genesis of the idea that we wanted to do fantasy esports,” Yen said in an interview with GosuRabbit. “A lot of it is because we had a lot of gamers on the team. For me, personally, I have been playing [League of Legends] since 2011. … So we’ve always wanted to do it.’”
For Matthew Archambault, Head of Esports Partnerships and Business Development for Riot Games, this partnership builds upon Riot’s commitment to be “the most player-focused game company in the world” by creating a connection between fans and esports players.
As Archambault said: “this allows for more of that two way dialogue, and that’s fundamentally what we’re trying to do here,” and he further mentioned to GosuRabbit “it’s not the league talking at players or fans, it’s actually bringing them more into the foray.”
Archambault said the LCS has plenty of ideas of products for fans that he cannot wait to share with the public in the future. He also mentioned that they read comments and suggestions from viewers on Reddit and Twitter to learn what fans want from the league.
Listening to feedback is necessary to releasing a successful product, and Archambault said that it is a “constant evolution” working with fans. And for Yen, who is a self-proclaimed CLG fan, fantasy LCS is something that needs to exist, regardless of the business side of it
“For us, this is like a passion,” Yen said. “This is something that must exist. We don’t feel the need to force anything to grow. We just wanted this to exist and for people to love it.”
While fantasy champions have already been crowned in Sleeper leagues around the world, playoffs are underway for the LCS. With more fan-focused content in the near future from Riot Games, LCS viewers have a lot to look forward to.
Using Sleeper and Riot Games as an example, we can see that the trend to find new and innovative ways to reach the right target audience is increasing as both gaming and non-gaming brands look to further engage with younger generations.