The North American League Championship Series (LCS) has recently announced their new partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings. This follows their disaster partnership with NEOM that had been quickly withdrawn in less than a day after due to outcry from the entire League of Legends community. Read more on the NEOM controversy
Who is Buffalo Wild Wings?
For most North American fans, you would have already heard about Buffalo Wild Wings, regarded as the biggest sports bar in the region. Buffalo Wild Wings to no surprise specialises in serving buffalo wings as a fast-casual restaurant and bar. The restaurant chain boasts over a thousand locations globally and is no stranger to forming partnerships and sponsoring sporting leagues and individual teams. However, this partnership is a major move across the industry, being the first deal between a major restaurant chain and an “esports property”.
What does this partnership mean?
Riot has not disclosed where funds for this partnership will be allocated to, however, they have revealed there will be some exciting things to come. These include special menu items related to the LCS (possibly player favourites), customer merchandise and other co-branded promotions.
The popularity of live League of Legends viewing parties had been booming pre-covid, especially for major events like the League of Legends World Championships. The deal with the LCS would further accelerate this trend, with possible LCS exclusive promotions for viewers during live LCS matches across the Buffalo Wild Wings locations.
The partnership has been announced to be multi year deal. This will likely mean no upcoming restaurant-based partnerships with the LCS due to conflict of interest. However, the deal opens the possibility for major restaurant chains to partner up with other major leagues like the LCK, LPL and LEC. Such partnerships will be vital in the recovering of the weakened restaurant industry due to COVID-19, capitalising on the huge spike in esports viewership.