Streaming music and audio might not be the first thing to pop into your mind when thinking of video gaming, but Spotify Technology (NYSE:SPOT) believes there is a natural synergy between the two. It announced on Monday that it has snared multiyear exclusive rights to be the "audio service provider" for Riot Games' League of Legends esport.
The service will feature music playlists, game highlights, player interviews, and podcasts, and the sponsorship comes just in time for the League's 10th annual world championship tournament in Shanghai Sept. 25 through Oct. 31.
In a league of their own
League of Legends is a huge, multiplayer online battle arena esport, with over 100 million people watching last year's championship in Paris.
Spotify will be creating an official League hub that will contain the music playlists This is League of Legends and the Official League of Legends Playlist, which has over 5 million monthly listeners.
Arguably more important will be the launching of League-focused podcasts, which could be the vehicle Spotify uses to monetize its sponsorship. League's YouTube channel of music, for instance, currently has over 22 million views, suggesting that if Spotify can convert some of those viewers into podcast listeners, it could generate a good stream of revenue.
Spotify is going all-in on podcasts, acquiring the sports and entertainment podcast creator The Ringer earlier this year, which followed last year's acquisition of three other podcast companies, Gimlet Media, Anchor FM, and Parcas. Spotify subsequently signed on the influential podcaster Joe Rogan to an exclusive $100 million deal.
League of Legends may similarly be the biggest, most important esport.