For Naz Aletaha, Riot Games’ new Global Head of League of Legends Esports, the breathtaking image of a packed Staples Center overrun by tens of thousands of League fans is one she can’t ever forget.
The 2013 League of Legends World Championship peaked at 8.5 million concurrent viewers. | Provided by Riot Games via Dave Bowden
The 2013 League of Legends World Championship marked the esport’s first use of a large-scale arena venue for an official international event. It was the first time the Orange County native could palpably feel the irresistible draw of a community defined by the passion of those uplifting it. This was Aletaha’s self-proclaimed “aha moment.” As one of the founding members of the LoL esports partnerships team, that sight validated the effort she’s poured into her contributions to the ground-breaking success of what is now the world’s largest esport.
“That’s where I watched Kobe and Shaq growing up; it’s where I saw my first major concert,” Aletaha said. “I really will never forget when I walked into that stadium and saw it full of League of Legends fans… it was at that moment where I said ‘oh my gosh, I need to do this.’”
Aletaha’s been a Rioter since 2012 and has served as Head of Global Esports Partnerships and Business Development for nearly eight years. She was one of the minds behind some of Riot’s most innovative partnerships and activations with prestigious brands like Spotify, Louis Vuitton, Mastercard and more. She fondly recalls the spectacle of the Worlds 2013 Grand Finals at the Staples Center and even the infamous technical delay of Worlds 2012 that resulted in a massive RP giveaway and pizza party for fans at L.A. LIVE.
In her near-10-year-long career, Aletaha hasn’t forgotten what sparked her dedication to pushing the boundaries of what League can become, and that fact is the driving force behind her vision for the esport’s future. Following Riot’s announcement of her promotion, Aletaha spoke with Upcomer to share her thoughts on the path forward for League esports.
While Aletaha is still splitting time between two roles until her previous position is filled, she already has her sights on what could be in store for LoL esports partners down the road.
“I’m bullish about the future,” she said.
As preparations to hit the ground running in 2022, Aletaha draws on a wealth of experience working on brand partnership activations that keep the fan experience in mind. She plans to maintain this philosophy in her approach as Global Head of LoL Esports.
“I remember at various times through the years, we would see some criticism about how we didn’t have as many sponsors as some thought we should,” she said….
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