World Surf League Names Ex-Riot Games Exec as New CEO

Riot Games’ president of publishing Ryan Crosby has been named the next CEO of the World Surf League, effective May 13, as reported by Variety‘s sister site Sportico.

Crosby joined Riot, the developer of League of Legends and Valorant, in 2021, after previous stops at Activision, Netflix and Hulu. Atop the WSL, Crosby will be responsible for continuing to grow its digital footprint, marketing surfing stars and taking advantage of the spotlight the sport will receive this summer as Olympians compete in Tahiti.

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“What I love about surfing is that it’s an incredible competitive sport, but it’s also much more than that,” Crosby said in a statement. “It’s a way of life, a passion and a deeply committed global community. I am excited to leverage my experience to elevate the WSL brand, deepen our connection with fans and continue building something that surfers can be proud of.”

Crosby will also help the league navigate the recent retirement of five-time world champion Carissa Moore and the potential departure of 52-year-old Kelly Slater. Reigning world champion Filipe Toledo is taking a one-year mental health break from the competition.

Previous CEO Erik Logan left the organization abruptly last June, with WSL ownership taking a more active role in the league’s stewardship in the interim. In January, the organization announced that ESPN+ would be streaming men’s and women’s championship tour competitions. Bonsoy, Lexus and Eventbrite also joined the tour as sponsors this season. The WSL Finals will be held in California in September.

In a statement announcing the hire, the WSL emphasized Crosby’s connections to the sport, including a personal passion for surfing and a history working with the environmentally focused Surfrider Foundation. Nolan Partners contributed to the search process.

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