On the morning of Wednesday June 29, the League of Legends European Championship league announced a new partnership with NEOM. The LEC did not disclose the details of the partnership in the announcement, but NEOM would be a sponsor of the Oracle Lens portion of the broadcast. The announcement sparked massive outrage from not only fans, but the casters and personalities across the LoL Esports family.
This is disappointing because this is the LEC. It's my team, my product, my managers, my office.
My family. My home.
This isn't someone far away in HQ that I don't know. This is devastating because I know who made these choices and I feel silenced.
— Froskurinn (@Froskurinn) July 29, 2020
Throughout the day, many casters vocalized their disappointment in the LEC for picking up a controversial sponsor. Fans chimed in as well, voicing their opinions about how the optics of the deal would affect their decision to watch the broadcast.
Later that night, the LEC made another announcement – this time, to say they have walked back on the deal.
— LEC (@LEC) July 30, 2020
After hearing the backlash from around the community, the LEC ended the partnership after only 16 hours. The statement from Director of Esports Alberto Guerrero mentioned how the LEC acted too quickly in attempting to grow the LEC space, and ended the deal in response to the community.
“As a company and as a league, we know that it’s important to recognize when we make mistakes and quickly work to correct them. After further reflection, while we remain steadfastly committed to all of our players and fans worldwide including those living in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, the LEC has ended its partnership with NEOM, effective immediately. In an effort to expand our esports ecosystem, we moved too quickly to cement this partnership and caused rifts in the very community we seek to grow. While we missed our own expectations in this instance, we’re committed to reexamining our internal structures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Featured image courtesy of Riot Games
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