- Riot Games, creator of the online battle arena game League of Legends, has enlisted rapper-singer Lil Nas X as the game’s president, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
- The partnership will kick off with the 2022 League World Championship for which Lil Nas X will create a League Champion cosmetic skin, intersperse musical moments and perform live. The championship will begin on September 29 in Mexico City.
- Lil Nas X has also produced a championship anthem, “Star Walkin,” which will debut Sept. 23 ahead of the event. The partnership includes the first in-game co-engineered artist collaboration and demonstrates brands’ growing interest in using musicians to create original songs to appeal to new audiences.
Overview of the dive:
League of Legends is one of the most popular PC games in the world, with over 180 million players and fans per month. But beyond casual play, the World Gaming Championship has repeatedly broken its own records in its finals, last year with an average viewership of more than 30 million viewers in its finals match, according to press materials. Recruiting pop culture icon Lil Nas X, perhaps in an attempt to break a record again, could help recruit a new wave of players.
As part of this partnership, the artist will perform live at the Chase Center in San Francisco on November 5 for the opening ceremony of the Worlds presented by Mastercard. He will also design the in-game skin “Prestige Empyrean K’Sante” which will launch on November 3 and will be available until November 14. The skin is not available for direct purchase, but must be earned by playing League of Legends or Riot. The games other title, Teamfight Tactics.
Scheduled to release a week before the event, which spans 11 regions, Lil Nas X will release the championship anthem, “Star Walkin,” to help build additional hype. Thematic anthems have long been a marketing tactic for brands, although recently many have revamped the strategy by bringing the songs to TikTok and other social platforms.
The game’s popularity has increased during the pandemic. In 2021, the League of Legends World Championship Finals was watched by 73.9 million people, compared to 46 million in 2020. Such a partnership could help maintain this momentum, combined with marquee sponsors for the season, including Bud Light. , Grubhub, Verizon, and Buffalo Wild Wings.
Popular among younger consumers, Lil Nas X has recently been recruited by other brands who are likely looking to connect with Gen Z and Gen Alpha consumers. Last August, Taco Bell named the artist its “impact director,” and the fast-food chain made an appearance in Lil Nas X’s music video for the song “Sun Goes Down.”