Riot Video games filed a movement to compel yesterday within the hopes of terminating its League of Legends Championship collection sponsorship take care of the cryptocurrency alternate FTX (credit score to crypto researcher and Harvard Innovation Lab fellow Molly White for the spot.) This follows the highly-publicized implosion of FTX and the arrest of its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, on fees of fraud.

Coindesk reported on the settlement between Riot and FTX final August. The sponsorship deal was set to final for seven years, with FTX branding displayed prominently throughout LCS occasions. Riot didn’t publicly disclose the value of the deal on the time, however did point out that it was the most important such esports sponsorship the corporate had ever secured.

FTX was one of many largest cryptocurrency exchanges on the earth and had a well-curated public picture. You might keep in mind the corporate’s advert that includes Larry David on the Superbowl, one thing that was kinda humorous however largely unhappy on the time, and is now completely hilarious in hindsight. On the time of writing, FTX nonetheless holds naming rights to Miami’s FTX Enviornment (previously the American Airways Enviornment), the house of the Miami Warmth.

Inner paperwork exhibiting huge discrepancies in FTX’s bookkeeping leaked to the general public final month, with mass withdrawals from clients and a declaration of chapter following quickly after. Bankman-Fried had continued to run PR harm management earlier than finally stepping down from his place as CEO then getting arrested within the Bahamas earlier this week.

FTX is just about bancrupt, however based on Riot’s movement nonetheless owes the corporate half of its $12.5 million cost for 2022. That yearly cost was solely set to extend over the lifespan of the seven-year sponsorship deal. It solely is sensible that Riot would need off this sinking ship, however the firm additionally cites the affiliation as being damaging to its model. 

Humorously, Riot factors to Sam Bankman-Fried’s notorious League of Legends behavior as a specific sticking level. “Media shops and Twitter commentators splashed pictures of Mr. Bankman-Fried enjoying League of Legends⁠—Riot’s game⁠—on the similar time that FTX was crashing,” the movement reads. Perhaps the reputational harm would have been much less extreme if Bankman-Fried was truly good on the game, although ideally he would have simply been higher at operating a cryptocurrency alternate.

Earlier than your coronary heart bursts with an excessive amount of sympathy for Riot, the corporate is actively on the lookout for an explicitly crypto-focused promoting accomplice to exchange FTX. “The longer Riot is prevented from commercializing the crypto-exchange sponsorship class and the belongings at the moment owned by FTX,” the corporate explains, “the extra damages Riot incurs.”

It is exhausting to think about this movement not being sustained⁠—there’s merely no universe wherein FTX might pay Riot what it already owes, not to mention be ready to maintain multi-million greenback esports sponsorships ever once more. The one query in my thoughts is whether or not Riot will extricate itself in time to have one other crypto sponsor for the LCS in 2023, after which should make one other movement to compel to get out of that deal when the subsequent financial institution run rolls round.

If the story of an esports group making an attempt to chop ties with FTX sounds acquainted, you might be pondering of TSM and Furia’s efforts on that entrance. TSM had signed a $210 million, 10-year deal to vary its identify to TSM FTX in 2021, whereas Furia had entered a one-year, $3.2 million association with the failed alternate. Each groups moved to void their partnerships with FTX final month.