League of Legends esports still not breaking even

League of Legends esports still not breaking even

After all these years, Riot Games is still losing money on League of Legends esports.

That's according to the company's senior director of esports, Raul Fernandez, who told Axios that these tournament events – such as the LCS Summer Finals – were still not breaking even. In fact, Riot is seemingly seeing a decline in viewership figures. 

"We're trying to find our footing, trying to find a way to refresh our league," he said.

Fernandez added that the LCS Summer Finals, hosted in Newark, was profitable for the city and teams that were taking part.

This echoes Riot's previous statements about esports not making any money – that it doesn't matter whether they are making money, so long as the teams are making enough money to stay in business.

“If I can’t make esports a great business for teams and our sponsors, then we’re not going to last long,” Riot's president of esports John Needham said at the time.

“We’re very much thinking about, ‘How do we make the entire ecosystem profitable?’”

As has said before, it's not uncommon for the developers and publishers involved in esports-focused games to not make any money on the pro scene. Ultimately, these kinds of competitions act as marketing for the titles involved, so while they are losing money, it's essentially a marketing spend.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.