ESL rules prohibit porn sponsors
YouPorn, which my colleagues tell me is a supplier of online “adult” entertainment, sponsors an eSports team, Team YP. It has since 2014, back when I wrote, “More like spornsporning an eSporn team.” Hah, nice.
Unfortunately, this relationship is not appreciated by professional gaming league ESL, even though the league covers games with Mature ratings not unlike the age requirement necessary for watching porn online. ESL has banned Team YP from the league, citing existing rules against sponsors, “widely known for pornographic … or other adult/mature themes and products.”
A representative offered this statement to VentureBeat: “Advertising pornography is not legal in the markets we operate in, and the vast majority of partners we’re working with have strict ‘no drugs, no alcohol, no pornography’ rules that we’ve contractually taken on board. These aren’t new rules, but ones that have been in our rulebooks for a long time. We spoke to the manager of Team YP earlier this year and in that conversation we explained the situation and rules in detail, and offered to look for potential alternatives in a bigger group. At the same time, we are consulting with our legal teams about this. We will inform the team and the management as soon as we have any updates.”
Team YP has gone as far as asking the ESL if it could compete if it scrubbed the “YP” branding, the YouPorn sponsorship only being implied/known to those in the know, which is a pretty extreme step (YouPorn would be paying to sponsor a team with the thinnest of public advertising connection to it), but even that doesn’t get around the rule that flatly prohibits YouPorn as a sponsor, visible or otherwise. ESL claims it still wants to work with Team YP, but will not change the rule, which is meant to appease third-party partners like Microsoft and Warner Bros., who might not want to be associated with “insanely hot slut does gangbang bukkake.”
“We feel like this rule has been implemented in direct connection to our sponsor’s efforts,” Team YP’s Rainbow Six: Siege and Evolve captain Eril “YP_Nightwane” Djoehana told VentureBeat. “It was only created after we started entering ESL cups and started getting noticed.”
If the ESL uphold the ban, suddenly a handful of folks are out their income, should YouPorn cease sponsorship. “Our experience with Team YP has been nothing but positive thus far,” Djoehana said. “We are well-treated by Team YP, and we are never pushed to promote or be linked to any mature content. Moreover, none of their content is harmful to anyone. I do not think there is any cause for this harsh punishment for a sponsor and team, especially since they are only trying to support the scene and its players.”
Esports league bans YouPorn’s pro gamer squad [VentureBeat]