Riot Games has secured a new partnership with personal finance company SoFi that will focus on the development of amateur League of Legends talent. As part of the deal, SoFi will provide a $250 USD primary investment account to all players participating in the Honda Scouting Grounds – a combine-style event where aspiring North American LoL competitors compete against each other in a series of show matches to be evaluated by LCS organizations.
Additionally, SoFi will team up with Nerd Street Gamers to host a tournament series – SoFi Meta Melee – for college-aged players. Over the course of four weeks, the series will distribute $42.5K in prizing.
Earlier this year, SoFi signed a deal with Misfits Gaming Group that made the company the main jersey sponsor of the Florida Mayhem and Florida Mutineers.
North America’s investment in home-grown amateur talent has been a topic of discussion lately in the esports space after the continent once again failed to survive the first full round of the World Championship tournament. Historically, LCS teams looking to improve have opted to sign veteran players from Europe or South Korea, or established players from another LCS team. In 2018, the LCS implemented an Academy system intended to provide teams with a secondary, semi-pro roster which could groom talent to take over on the main squad, but many of those spots have also been filled by long-time pros who could not find a home on a starting roster.
In a tweet after the last LCS team was eliminated from Worlds, Cloud9 CEO Jack Etienne specifically mentioned that the region needs to reevaluate its talent development strategy.