John Needham Named New Global Head of LoL Esports

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John Needham Named New Global Head of LoL Esports

Riot Games have announced the appointment of John Needham as new Global Head for LoL Esports. Needham will be the lead for Riot's major events like the World Championship, All-Stars, and the Mid-Seasonal Invitational. John Needham has been a part of Riot Games since 2017 during which was the Managing Director of North America and was one of the leading forces behind the rebranding of the LEC that has seen the team pick up a vast number of new sponsorships such as DXRacer, Alienware, and Kia to name a few.

The current Co-Heads of Esports, Jarred Kennedy and Whalen Rozelle, are said to be taking new leadership positions within Riot Games. What those positions would be were not mentioned by Riot, but it is clear that Riot is happy with what both Jarred and Whalen accomplished. Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent says: “LoL is an esports phenomenon, thanks in large part to the leadership, drive, and vision of Jarred and Whalen, and we’re now confident that we are well on our way to becoming a multi-decade, multi-generational sport. We plan to provide our players, teams, partners, and fans with even more high-impact, amazing League of Legends experiences.”

Current Co-Heads of Esports Whalen Rozelle and Jarred Kennedy
Current Co-Heads of Esports Whalen Rozelle and Jarred Kennedy

Riot Games is confident that this upcoming change in leadership will help the growth of League of Legends as a dynasty esport. League of Legends currently has 13 Leagues featuring more than 100 teams and over 800 professional players. 2018 proved to be a successful year for Riot Games with just under 100 million unique viewers tuning into the World Finals held in Incheon, South Korea. Riot Games has been able to provide an experience for fans around the world that has been able to overcome many obstacles as well as a whole array of “League Killer” titles such as PUBG, Fortnite and Apex Legends to name a few.

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John Needham had this to say about his new role, and the pioneering League of Legends esports has in the modern era of esports: “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.”

John Needham, Global Head of LoL Esports.
John Needham, new Global Head of LoL Esports

Images Via: Riot Games & Kotaku

Manny Gomez
Manny ‘Manstr’ graduated with a degree in game design and development but fell in love with the thrill of esports. Manny has always enjoyed talking about professional League of Legends and FIFA. He has been a published video game journalist in Colombia for two different publications. Twitter: @Manster415