You can’t have a professional gamer team in the Electronic Sports League if you’re sponsored by people who sell pornography. This is a rule.
Last week, a team sponsored by porn site YouPorn ran afoul of that very rule, which somehow had been overlooked for the two years it competed in pro events under the moniker Team YP, playing games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike and Dota 2. As VentureBeat reports, ESL is forcing Team YP out of its league in an effort to keep from being tied to the pornography site, or from promoting it through allowing the sponsorship.
ESL responded to the report with a statement that says the rule barring sponsorships from companies that are “widely known for pornographic … or other adult/mature themes and products” is one that’s been around for a while. Here’s the statement sent 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 reportedly been corresponding with ESL in an attempt to find a compromise that would allow it to keep competing, offering to rebrand itself or make other changes. Check out the full VentureBeat story for much more information. For the time being, though, it looks like playing competitive computer games in which you rip up other players with various violent weapons isn’t allowed if it might be implied that pornography exists.