NEW YORK, June 27 (Reuters) - Tencent Holdings Ltd's Riot Games said on Thursday that Nielsen Holdings PLC will measure the value of sponsoring Riot's "League of Legends," the most-watched esport in the world, through next year.
Quantifying the value of brand exposure gained through sponsorships of League of Legends teams, games and leagues could help the multiplayer online battlefield game, abbreviated as LoL, draw more sponsors.
While other publishers have also worked with Nielsen on sponsorship measurement, fans have watched more LoL matches than any other game, totaling 347.4 million live hours in 2018 on Twitch and YouTube Gaming, according to gaming analytics firm Newzoo.
LoL has 13 regional leagues with more than 800 players on 100 professional teams globally.
The game has already drawn big companies - even those not endemic to the esports universe - including State Farm, Mastercard Inc and Nike Inc.
Esports - where throngs of fans watch competitive professional video game matches live and online - has become an increasingly important funnel for brands to reach younger, more affluent and digitally savvy audiences who watch less television.
"As esports continues to gain momentum with brand marketers and advertisers, the need for independent, third-party verification of audiences and brand exposure is critical," said Nicole Pike, managing director of Nielsen Esports, in a statement.
Nielsen will measure LoL's brand exposure throughout 2019 and 2020, including during the North American League of Legends Championship Series, its European Championship, its three international events and for some regional leagues in Asia.
"As major companies invest in our tournaments, we want to help them see the value of their exposure and identify how best to engage with our passionate fan base," said Doug Watson, head of esports insights at Riot.
Nielsen's measurement is based on the quality, duration and location of brand exposure, in addition to the size of the audience seeing or hearing the mention of that brand's identity. (Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)