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The ESL Slaps a Ban on YouPorn-Sponsored eSports Team

The ESL is cracking down on teams and players sponsored by pornography establishments.


Team YP—sponsored by YouPorn—has been banned by the eSports league’s directors for their association with the adult entertainment brand. Why this team was ever able to compete in the first place is beyond me, considering this has been in the rulebook for quite some time. The ESL made the following statement to Polygon about their decision:

“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, obviously disappointed, proceeded to appeal the ruling, even offering to compromise and re-brand themselves via an email response:

“If the division had to go through a rebranding and remove the YP for something else, if the sponsor is still technically ‘YouPorn’ but the YP is not actively present in the branding, would you be allowed to let my teams play? If the two letters are removed, our sponsorship will be implied due to the fact that we are somewhat well established as a sponsor at that point, but ESL would not be placed in a difficult position since you wouldn’t be promoting YouPorn directly at all since that would be removed.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following competitive gaming for the past several years. Back in 2012, Brazzers attempted to toss serious money into the fighting game scene, but immediately hit a wall after multiple major tournaments prohibited players associated with pornography brands from competing. Unhealthy, stomach-eroding energy drink sponsorships, however, are still 100% welcome.

There are definitely concerns to be had when you take into account the large amounts of youngsters that tune in for these competitions. That said, is an adult entertainment sponsorship really that taboo? How certain is it that kids will make the connection between the sponsor and the player? Also, it’s not like the players are walking around with obscene content on their jerseys. Nor are they playing games that are non-violent and free of fighting, guns, and gore. I know it’s our culture, but still. Just my two cents.

What are your thoughts on adult entertainment brand-sponsored teams being banned from pro gaming? Slap your thoughts into the comments below.

Image Credit: ESL

Malik Forté is the Gaming Editor of Nerdist and the badass, fearless leader of the White Pants Illuminati. Find his ramblings on Twitter: @Malik4play.

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