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Volume 23 No. 13
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Naz Aletaha, Riot Games

Photo: Riot Games
Photo: Riot Games
Photo: Riot Games

Naz Aletaha doesn’t hesitate to call Mastercard the biggest sponsor she has ever landed for Riot Games’ League of Legends esports league, and for good reason — the company just expanded its global multiyear deal even further.

Aletaha, who has been with Riot Games for about eight years, helped secure Mastercard in 2018 as the first global partner across all 13 regions for League of Legends esports. She also was involved in the recently announced expansion of the deal. Mastercard will expand its presence by adding financial services category exclusivity in the North American League Championship Series.

Naz Aletaha

Head of Global Esports Partnerships and Business Development, Riot Games

Born: Newport Beach, Calif.
Education: University of Southern California, B.S., business

“[The original deal in 2018] was two years in the making — it was the first global deal for League of Legends and it was a landmark deal not just for Riot but for the industry as a whole,” she said. 

Other partners she has helped land include Honda, Red Bull, Jersey Mike’s and Paramount Pictures. She also has led the league’s media rights talks, which has included deals with Twitch, YouTube and ESPN+.

Aletaha also helps work on brands’ activation and fulfillment after they sign on as partners.

“I love both sides for different reasons,” said Aletaha. “[Planning activation] is a part I really do love, because we get to roll up our sleeves and dream with our partners on how we can continue to elevate the sport and our fans’ experience.” — Adam Stern

Getting to know...

Favorite day-off activity: Running, boxing, hiking, high-intensity interval training, pilates … I like to mix it up.

Guilty pleasure: McDonald’s 2 cheeseburger meal (with the fries and soda, of course). And a side of Chicken McNuggets if I really want to treat myself. 

Attributes I look for in hiring: Authenticity, grit, and curiosity.

Misperception of working in sports business: That esports isn’t a “real” sport. The passion of hundreds of millions of fans; the dedication and skill of the athletes; the high stakes of the competitions; our robust ecosystem. Not only is League of Legends a sport, but it’s one of the few truly global professional sports in the world.

Woman in sports business you’d like to meet: Megan Rapinoe. What she has done on and off the field is nothing short of heroic. She is the embodiment of a champion.