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Volume 26 No. 45
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Weekend Plans With Riot Games' Naz Aletaha

This weekend marks Riot Games Head of Global Esports Partnerships & Business Development NAZ ALETAHA's eighth League of Legends World Championship, which is being held in Paris this year. Every event is special for Aletaha, who says there will inevitably be a moment on Sunday when she'll get goosebumps looking up at the sold-out crowd from the floor of AccorHotels Arena. Aletaha: "This is the sport that we set out to build almost a decade ago when we wanted to do it for our fans and seeing those fans in the arena is bringing that vision to reality." Aletaha caught up with THE DAILY while in Paris to discuss everything that goes into putting on a World Championship event before taking some time off to sightsee around the city and, of course, eat cheese.

GETTING STARTED EARLY: On Thursday evening, we had the official opening celebration of the Paris Esports Village. This is the first time that we've ever done a fan village of this scale, which is incredibly exciting. It is completely separate from our venue at AccorHotels Arena, it's open to everybody and it's in front of the very historic Hotel de Ville. We partnered with the city of Paris on the fan village and each one of our global partners will be activating in really fun and experiential ways for our fans. It's really offering fans this cool extension of the World Championship experience where they can come in and immerse themselves in all things League of Legends.

BUILDING EXCITEMENT: Friday morning will start with a workout. It's non-negotiable for me as part of my daily routine wherever I am in the world and helps me clear my head for the weekend ahead. I'm very much looking forward to my run along the Seine because I don't think it could be any more scenic with what that route has to offer. After that, we'll head over to the Eiffel Tower to host our press conference and introduce our World Finals teams to global media. We will also showcase the Louis Vuitton Trophy Trunk for the very first time. Nobody has seen it yet, so the media will get first eyes on it during the press conference. Next, we will head to Asnieres: The Heart of Louis Vuitton, which is about 45 minutes outside of Paris and is essentially the nerve center of Louis Vuitton. It remains in operation today as a workshop and it's used to craft Louis Vuitton's most exceptional pieces. Riot Games CEO NICOLO LAURENT, Global Head of League of Legends Esports JOHN NEEDHAM and I will get a special tour from our partners at Louis Vuitton.

Aletaha said she's excited for the special tour of Asnieres: The Heart of Louis Vuitton
Photo: RIOT GAMES

FINISHING TOUCHES: Saturday is the day before the show, so I'll arrive at the venue pretty early. I'll get a walkthrough of the front of house and back of house from our events team and do various media interviews with domestic and international press on-site. I'll also be hosting various business meetings with our current partners and potential partners who are all in town this weekend for the event. Once that's done, I'm off to watch the rehearsals for both our opening ceremonies and our closing ceremonies. Those will happen throughout the day, so I'll peel off as those happen to catch the show.

WHEN CHAMPIONS ARE MADE: Sunday is the big day -- it is essentially the day the entire global esports team has been working up to all year. I typically arrive at the venue at least two hours before we open doors. I always meet with my team on the ground to review the day's activities, everything from sponsor activations to who we're hosting on-site for hospitality. I also meet with our broadcast team in the production truck to go over the full programming of all the various sponsor and brand integrations that we have in the show. We're producing our show across 30 different platforms and in over 18 languages, so there's a lot of moving pieces. Before we open the doors, we'll typically do one more rehearsal that we'll all watch. When we finally open the doors and the fans start coming in, that's my favorite part. We will be debuting our Louis Vuitton Trophy Trunk to our fans during the opening ceremony, so that will be an exciting moment. We will then close out the event with the Summoner's Cup trophy ceremony for our new world champions.

Know of someone who should be featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot a note over to lsmith@sportsbusinessdaily.com.