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Getty expands scope of Riot Games deal

By Trent Murray
Getty has distributed image content for Riot Games since 2020.getty images

Getty Images will increase exposure for Riot Games by adding two new esports games to its portfolio as part of a multiyear renewal and expansion of its partnership with Riot. In addition to League of Legends, the company will now serve as the official photo image and distribution partner for global events in first-person shooter title Valorant and mobile game Wild Rift.

  

Additionally, Getty will distribute image content for Riot’s esports initiative for women and other marginalized genders, Game Changers. The Valorant-focused campaign is the leading developer-run program for women in competitive gaming and will host its first in-person global championship event later this year.

“I’m very proud of both Riot Games and Getty Images on their overall diversity and inclusion strategies,” said Carmin Romanelli, Getty Images global vice president of sports business development. “We looked at this as a great opportunity to further expand what we do in diversity and inclusion.”

The partnership began in July 2020 and came as a result of a long-standing relationship between Romanelli and David Higdon, Riot Games’ global head of communications for esports, who previously worked with Getty on partnerships for sports entities such as NASCAR and the LPGA.

That initial partnership focused on global esports events for League of Legends, including the World Championship, Mid-Season Invitational and All-Star Event, and was set to expire in 2024. At the time, Valorant had just been released one month prior, with no official global esports infrastructure in place. Wild Rift initially released in October 2020 in limited regions but slowly expanded globally, not reaching the U.S. until March 2021. Riot Games launched the official esports programs for Valorant and Wild Rift in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

According to Romanelli, Getty is committed to Riot’s continued expansion of its esports portfolio. “They added Valorant and Wild Rift and whatever they’re going to add in the future, we’re there ready to help them create, manage and get the content out there to their audience.”

Last year, Getty and Riot launched a free image gallery platform that will expand to serve the new games. According to a release, the gallery exceeded 60,000 downloads in its first three months.

The expanded partnership will begin with the upcoming Valorant Masters event, which will take place in Reykjavik, Iceland, from April 10-24. Getty also will cover the first Wild Rift global championship event, Global Icons, which will be held in Europe this summer along with the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational in May and the World Championship, which returns to North America this fall for the first time since 2017.

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