Pro-gaming squad Team YP have just found themselves banned by the Electronic Sports League (ESL). Why? Because its primary sponsor is adult entertainment website YouPorn. All this thanks to a new rule that prohibits sponsors with any known association with pornography or adult themes.
The order to exclude Team YP comes straight from ESL’s directors and will be a big blow for the team as ESL is behind some of the big tournaments in sports.
Team YP has made efforts to keep any team promotional efforts or material ‘safe for work’ with no direct mention of YouPorn or any sort of adult material. Efforts have also been made to ensure Google searches for the team do not lead to the website of their controversial sponsor.
Unfortunately Team YP will be the only gaming team to be affected by the rule and despite appeals to reconsider, ESL appears to be non-budging over the issue of accepting adult sponsors. In a Tweet, Team YP stated they were disappointed with the decision, but would "continue to strive towards professionalism and transparency".
ESL also provided an official response to Gamesbeat:
“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 have spoken to Team YP manager earlier this year, and in that conversation we’ve explained the situation and rules in detail and offered to look for potential alternatives in a bigger group. At the same time, we’re consulting with our legal teams about this. We will inform the team and the management as soon as we have any updates.”
Team YP's existence could very much be threatened by this new ruling what with YouPorn being its main sponsor. It's likely YouPorn might decide to exit the sponsorship agreement with the team and they'd be forced to find new sponsors. Though esports is growing in popularity, it will still be a challenge for the team especially as it will have consider rebranding in the future, whether or not YouPorn is still in the picture.