Esports news outlet Blitz Esports has confirmed a report that claimed League of Legends owner Riot Games has a financial interest in the site.
The link was first made by Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields on YouTube. Now the company has released a statement clarifying the nature of the relationship and apologising for not previously divulging the potential conflict of interest.
“Riot Games was an early investor in our team in 2015 when we were Instant Esports, before we started creating content,” the statement said. “At that time, we were building an esports mobile app serving tournament schedules, scores and stats on the competitive League of Legends and CS:GO scenes, and Riot shared our vision of making esports data easily accessible to all fans.
“Earlier this year, we independently shifted our focus away from the mobile app and toward esports content because our team thought it’d add more value for fans and that we could do a good job with it. (The app is still available and we’ll continue to support it, but most of our resources go into content now.) We took the opportunity to rebrand to Blitz because it sounds way cooler than ‘Instant’.
“Now that we’re creating content, we’re a normal publication going through normal media procedures: Riot has zero control over our operations, and we’ve had to prove ourselves independently through the quality of our content that we deserved access to LoL esports announcements alongside other media companies.
“Our esports coverage has been and always will be unbiased and fully independent of Riot or any other organization… That said, we will be more proactive in disclosing Riot’s investment in our team from now on, so that all of our viewers are fully informed. It was incorrect of us to disregard it before because it didn’t influence our content.”
It should be added that there has not been any suggestion that Blitz’s coverage has been in any way skewed in favour of Riot or LoL. Nonetheless, for a media outlet to be closely tied to one of the major companies it is reporting on is information that should have undoubtedly been volunteered.