Marc Merrill ’98 is a global business leader, co-creator of the online video game League of Legends, and co-founder of Riot Games.
At Chaminade College Preparatory he was a member of the wrestling and football teams. He became co-captain of the football team during his senior year and received the Coaches’ Award as "Mr. Guts." Known for their hard-hitting defense, Marc helped lead the defense to a top ten ranking in the Southern Section. Mr. Guts was given for Marc’s unquestionable toughness and willingness to be physical, tackle and catch passes running routes over the middle even though he knew he was going to get hit trying to catch that pass.
Marc graduated nearly twenty years ago but has remained an involved alumnus. He is a loyal participant at the Alumni Basketball Tournament, has attended his reunions, and provides tours of the Riot Games campus for Chaminade students. As a sophomore in college, he returned to lead a retreat. In 2011, Marc came back to his alma mater and spoke to the Eagle Engineering Robotics team. Students gained tips from an industry expert on their marketable skills as they started to think about colleges and careers.
After graduation, Marc attended the University of Southern California with his friend and future business partner, Brandon Beck. He went on to become an analyst at US Bank, and later a Corporate Marketing Manager at Advanstar Communications. Marc and Brandon were roommates in a West Hollywood apartment and shared a passion for World of Warcraft-style online games. Dedicating most of their days to the world of gaming, they became dissatisfied with the way developers were running their online communities; Marc and Brandon believed they could do things better.
Marc and Brandon left behind their corporate roles to found a company called Riot Games and create the game League of Legends, which has grown to become the most successful online PC game in the world with roughly 100m monthly players. Riot Games now employs over 2,500 people in 23 offices worldwide to support League of Legends across the world and was selected as Fortune Magazine’s 13th best company in the world to work for. League of Legends also received the “Best Persistent Game” BAFTA in 2015, and in 2017, Marc and Brandon were awarded the BAFTA Special Award in recognition of Riot Games’ creative contribution to the games industry. Inc. magazine named Riot Games its 2016 Company of the Year.
The New York Times has described League of Legends as a “full-scale phenomenon.” It has become the world’s largest esport and its popularity has fans filling arenas such as Madison Square Garden in New York City, Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the Birds Nest in Beijing. The online viewership has grown to rival major traditional sports, with the 2017 World Championships being watched by over 85m viewers around the world. Professional gamers have now been classified as professional athletes by the U.S. government, and can receive visas in the same vein as Olympic athletes with top players earning millions of dollars a year in total compensation.
Marc also prioritizes finding ways to get involved and have positive impact on the world outside of Riot Games. He serves on the board of several non-profit organizations, including: The Centrist Project, focused on addressing the polarized gridlock in Washington; City Year Los Angeles, focused on lowering the dropout rate in the worst performing schools in the nation's toughest neighborhoods; and the Navy Seal Warrior Family Foundation.
In addition to being a successful leader, Marc is a family man. He is married to Ashley Merrill and has two children, Linken and Vesper. Marc believes his experience at Chaminade enabled him to become the type of adult and business leader he is today. Chaminade helped to instill family values, and football showed the importance of teamwork, persistence, leadership and discipline.
Marc dreams big and does what is necessary for success.