Press release

RIOT GAMES NAMES NAZ ALETAHA AS GLOBAL HEAD OF LOL ESPORTS

As the 2021 League of Legends World Championship kicks off in Iceland, 
Riot’s award-winning BD executive is promoted to the top role overseeing 
the largest, most-watched esport in the world

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - October 5, 2021 - Riot Games today announced the promotion of Naz Aletaha as the new Global Head of LoL Esports. The promotion elevates Aletaha, currently serving as Head of Global Esports Partnerships and Business Development, to the most senior executive role within LoL Esports.

 

In her new role, Aletaha will create and execute the vision, strategy, and roadmap for LoL Esports, providing oversight of its 12 regional leagues and three international events: the League of Legends World Championship, Mid-Season Invitational, and All-Star Event. She will help shape the future of LoL Esports, drive ongoing growth in fandom, own the holistic LoL Esports fan experience, and lead the ecosystem to financial sustainability.

 

“Naz’s impact at Riot Games has been impressive for a decade, with eight of those years driving the esports business development efforts as a member of our leadership team,” said John Needham, Global Head of Esports at Riot Games. “Her tireless efforts, business acumen, and passion for our game, fans, partners, and players makes her the perfect fit to lead us into the next decade of LoL Esports.”

 

“LoL Esports was built from the passion of many. From Rioters to the pro teams to our partners and most importantly our fans, our community took a bold vision and made it a reality: to build a global sport. I’m honored to have been part of this community these many years,” Aletaha said. “This is the future of sport, and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to play a role in that future.” 

 

The League of Legends World Championship (Worlds) kicked off at 4 a.m. PST (U.S.) today and represents the culmination of international League of Legends esports. Teams from across Riot Games’ regional leagues compete all season for a chance to qualify for the World Championship, known as Worlds. Held at the end of the regular season in a different host region each year, Worlds features 22 teams from Riot’s professional leagues and remains the most viewed event in esports, with last year’s final in Shanghai peaking at 46 million viewers and registering an average minute audience (AMA) of 23 million. In 2019, the Worlds Final in Paris peaked at 44 million viewers and reached a 21.8 million AMA.

 

Aletaha, who will continue to lead global Riot esports partnerships and business development until a replacement is hired, has played an integral role in shaping the business of esports, pioneering industry-leading partnerships with some of the most respected and recognizable companies in world, including Louis Vuitton, Mastercard, Verizon, Mercedes-Benz, Bose, Unilever, Red Bull, Spotify, Bose, YouTube, Twitch, Cisco, Amazon, Coca-Cola, and State Farm. Since joining Riot Esports as a BD team of one in 2013, Aletaha built the first partnerships team within Riot Games and has since scaled it to be a best-in-class division delivering value to partners and fans across the globe and the ecosystem at large. 

 

Aletaha is currently also serving as an Executive Producer for the upcoming Paramount+ scripted comedy series, Players, produced by CBS Studios in association with Funny or Die, about a fictional team in the LCS, LoL Esports’ North American league, which will be available on the streaming platform in 2022. Her strategic business development and leadership has ultimately helped accelerate the growth of esports and turn it into one of the biggest forms of sports entertainment.

 

Experience and Accolades

Aletaha graduated from the University of Southern California in 2006 and subsequently applied her passion for entertainment and gaming to her career, first at Sony Motion Pictures, then at Activision Blizzard, and finally to Riot Games starting in January 2012. Her impact on the esports industry has garnered accolades the past several years. 

 

Aletaha will be recognized in November as a new honoree of Sports Business Journal’s prestigious 40 Under 40 Award, an accolade that follows her being named by the Journal to their class of ground-breaking female executive Game Changers in 2019. Aletaha was named by Fortune in 2020 as a 40 Under 40 in the Media & Entertainment category, cementing her position as a thought leader not just in sports but within entertainment. Other winners in the category included Beyonce, Pat Mahomes, Trevor Noah, and Dan Levy. She was also identified by AdWeek’s editorial team in 2019 for her pioneering work in esports and earned a spot on the publication’s annual Young Influentials list, which honors top media, marketing, and tech talents. Fellow honorees included Megan Rapinoe, Zendaya, Little Nas X, Lizzo, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Aletaha also was selected as one of the Top Women in Sports by Cynopsis Media in 2019.   

 

In her new role, Aletaha will interface with sponsors, media partners, team owners, and other stakeholders in the LoL Esports ecosystem and report into Needham. She also will be at the center of collaboration internally within Riot Games on its expanding portfolio of esports, games, and entertainment. 

 

About LoL Esports™

LoL Esports is a premier global sport that has attracted the attention of millions of fans around the world since 2011. More than 800 players on 100+ professional League of Legends esports teams compete across a dozen leagues globally. Within each regional league, teams compete against one another over the course of two seasonal splits in hopes of earning regional titles and championship points. LoL Esports boasts a roster of industry-leading global sponsors and best-in-class partners. For more information, visit: www.lolesports.com and www.lolesportsmedia.com.