League Of Legends Wants Court To Remove Crypto Sponsor FTX
Riot Games wants to end its partnership with FTX and has filed a legal motion to try to bring an end to the disgraced crypto exchange's sponsorship of its League of Legends Championship Series.
Riot filed a motion with the court handling FTX's bankruptcy on Friday as it seeks to stop the seven-year sponsorship it signed with FTX last summer (via Engadget). Discovered by crypto sceptic and 'Web3 is Going Just Great' creator Molly White (via PC Gamer) apparently FTX still owes half of the $12.5 million it agreed to pay as part of the deal for including FTX branding at LCS events, according to Riot.
But this is not all. Riot says FTX will owe more millions as the annual payment was supposed to increase over the duration of the seven-year sponsorship deal, with the first quarterly payment for 2023 supposed to arrive on January 2. This is highly unlikely to be paid as FTX is going through bankruptcy and its founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is wanted back in the US for charges of money laundering and fraud.
Amusingly, the motion includes mention of Bankman-Fried's now infamous predilection for 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." (Zing!)
However, just because of one bad experience with crypto doesn't seem to be preventing Riot from exploring further tie-ups as it's looking to replace FTX 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's not the only games-related tie-up that FTX involved itself with. The cryto exchange also signed deals with esports organisations TSM and Furia. Last month, TSM announced that it was suspending its relationship with FTX. In 2021 it signed a record-breaking deal with FTX in a $210 million sponsorship deal. The agreement was supposed to last ten years and resulted in a name change – TSM FTX – but of course this has gone up in smoke.
FTX filed for bankruptcy last month after it collapsed due to a run caused by investigations into the company's finances. Its founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is currently in the Bahamas but is apparently ready to waive extradition rights and surrender to the US to face charges, according to a report from Reuters.
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