Riot Games taps John Needham to be Global Head of LoL
It’s a step up for the former managing director
John Needham joined the Riot Games team in 2017, being selected as the company’s Managing Director of Europe and North America. In the role, he was in charge of overseeing branding efforts of the League of Legends (LOL) European Championship (LEC), which recently entered into a long-term deal with ten different teams. His abilities must have impressed the Riot brass, as Needham has now been promoted and will be the new global head of the League of Legends professional eSports league.
Needham will now be responsible for organizing major LOL events, such as the World Championship, the All-Star Event and the Mid-Season Invitational. He says of his involvement with Riot, “We are currently in the middle of our ninth season with ‘League of Legends’ esports, and when we look at the timelines under which traditional sports have evolved, over many decades if not centuries, we’re extremely bullish on what we’re creating. At Riot Games, we believe that we’re well ahead of the curve and that esports are still only in their infancy. With player experience guiding us as it does all of Riot, we are building a global, sustainable ecosystem for players, teams, partners, and fans alike. We’re honored to be considered leaders in the esports space and believe it’s part of our responsibility to help shepherd it forward by investing in the right ideas, events, and structure to help this sport reach its full potential.”
LOL is one of the biggest eSports leagues in the world. It has around 800 professional players that represent 100 different teams across different leagues and continues to grow in popularity. For example, the World Championship finals last year drew 99.6 million viewers and the regular season typically sees an average of about 90 million hours viewed each week.