The now-defunct crypto exchange FTX signed many massive sponsorship deals in its heyday, including promising League of Legends developer Riot Games nearly $100 million as a part of its agreement to sponsor Riot’s League Championship Series (LCS) esports competition, documents in the Sam Bankman-Fried legal trial have revealed. 

The sum of FTX’s Riot deal was published as part of the criminal trial proceedings unfolding in New York this month, as disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried faces seven charges of crimes including alleged wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. The value of the deal was never previously disclosed.

FTX agreed to sponsor Riot’s League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) in 2021 as part of a seven-year deal that would automatically renew in 2028 unless either party disputed it, according to a spreadsheet shared Monday that details FTX’s myriad sponsorships.


The exhibit shows that Riot’s LCS was to be paid $4 million of the total in 2021, $12.5 million of the total in 2022, and another roughly $12.8 million this year, with annual recurring payments until the close of the deal.

The exchange had also promised esports organization TSM over $136.5 million under an “FTX Trading” label and another $73.5 million under its “FTX US” label, according to the document. That 10-year, $210 million total deal was announced in June 2021. Per the spreadsheet, TSM was owed about $10.8 million of its total in 2021, $15.37 million last year, and another $16.6 million of the total deal this year.

It’s unclear how much of these totals were paid out to Riot and TSM before FTX’s collapse, however, which occurred in November 2022. Riot Games did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment to confirm the amount of funds promised—and how much was ultimately paid before the exchange folded late last year. TSM declined comment.

League of Legends was a noted obsession of Bankman-Fried, the former FTX CEO. He wrote about the game on social media and reportedly would play the game during business meetings and interviews. "I'm (in)famous for playing League of Legends while on phone calls," Bankman-Fried wrote on Twitter in 2021.


League of Legends boasts some 133 million monthly active users, according to data from ActivePlayer, and is one of the most popular competitive esports games as well. The crypto industry has become a promising new source of revenue for some esports organizations, who face financial challenges as they struggle to turn a profit.

Some orgs have come to rely heavily upon sponsorships, while others, like TSM, M80, and 100 Thieves, have experimented with ways that NFTs and crypto integrations could better engage and monetize their fanbases. However, the momentum around crypto/esports tie-ups has cooled over the last year-plus amid the ongoing crypto bear market.

Editor's note: This story was updated after publication to note that TSM declined comment.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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