Sam Bankman-Fried loved playing 'League of Legends' in meetings. Now the game's maker wants out of its $96 million FTX sponsorship deal.
- Riot Games wants out of a roughly $96 million agreement with bankrupt crypto firm FTX.
- The company cited "reputational harm" amid FTX's collapse.
"League of Legends" maker Riot Games wants out of a $96 million sponsorship deal with bankrupt cryptocurrency firm FTX.
Last week, the company cited "reputational harm" in a court filing, in which it outlined the terms of the deal.
In exchange for placement of the FTX logo on Riot Games' marketing materials, FTX was to pay the company roughly $96 million over the course of seven years, 2022 through 2028 — including $12.5 million this year, of which it still owes half.
But now Riot wants to terminate the agreement amid FTX's collapse and its cofounder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried's arrest earlier this month for numerous fraud-related charges. If the deal is terminated, it is unclear what FTX's remaining financial responsibilities will be.
"Prior to, and throughout this media firestorm, Riot's image and reputation to its customer base, remained inextricably linked to FTX through its former CEO, Mr. Bankman-Fried," the filing said. "Media outlets and Twitter commentators splashed images of Mr. Bankman-Fried playing 'League of Legends' — Riot Games' game — at the same time that FTX was crashing."
Riot Games and FTX did not immediately reply to Insider's request for comment.
Bankman-Fried's affinity for "League of Legends" is well known. In February 2021, he tweeted that he is "(in)famous" for playing the multiplayer online game "while on phone calls."
He was also once caught playing it during a pitch meeting with investors from venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital.
The filing noted that even the likes of billionaire Twitter owner Elon Musk and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez have both recently mocked Bankman-Fried's low score in the game — another example of his name and reputation being associated with it.
"The reputational harm inflicted upon Riot cannot be undone," the filing said. "It would be untenable for Riot to be forced to continue its association with a company whose reputation is forever tarnished in the eyes of the public."
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas last week after US prosecutors filed charges against him, including wire fraud. On Wednesday night, he was extradited to the US, where he'll face the charges.
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