How Power Play helped bring esports to Madison Square Garden
Three years ago, Tribeca Games, Madison Square Garden and Riot Games came together to make one of the most successful events in esports history: the North American League of Legends Championship Series at the MSG Arena. Here’s how Power Play helped make that happen.
In 2015, League of Legends became the most popular esport in the world, with viewership soaring into the millions across the world. No longer was the game limited to events in Southern California or South Korea. It was a worldwide phenomenon, and Riot was ready to take its show on the road.
At the same time, Tribeca and Madison Square Garden (new partners at the time) were looking to branch out into new kinds of events that would attract millennial audiences. The historic venue, home of the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers, and host of a litany of sports most classic events (Ali’s Fight of the Century, etc.), had already hosted a couple of small esports events in the MSG Theatre, but was ready to try something new. Something bigger.
At Power Play, we saw a perfect match between two parties who didn’t know how right for each other they were. Bringing Riot Games and Madison Square Garden together was a chance to put League of Legends into sports’ most storied venue, linking old legends with one whose star was on its rise.
Like any great pairing, the chemistry was obvious. But Power Play helped guide the initial conversations to assuage any lingering doubts. Though they obviously knew and admired the venue, Riot hadn’t considered Madison Square Garden because they thought it would be too expensive, or its owners too skeptical that competitive gaming could fill an arena. But Power Play addressed both parties’ concerns, travelled to LA multiple times, put them into language that everyone could understand, bringing them to a deal that could made Riot and The Garden happy.
And it did. When tickets went on sale, they sold out almost instantly – 20,000 in less than 24 hours. That August, when the lights went up and the games began, the 2015 NA LCS Championships were widely recognized as a landmark event in esports’ upward trajectory, and the latest chapter in the Garden’s chronicle of excellence.
If you’re a venue owner, an event promoter or an event organizer interested in bringing esports to your space, give us a call. We know how to help.