When I first heard that YouPorn wanted to sponsor an eSports team, I thought it was a hilarious PR prank. But as it turns out, Team YouPorn was serious and actually managed to get a Starcraft 2 player and a female CS:GO team under their roster. “Team YP” as it is now known as a serious eSports team, and just got banned from all ESL events, due to its links to the adult content website. Which quite frankly is utterly ridiculous.
Coming from “regular” sports, this is so weird. I’m used to being bombarded with advertisements of alcohol and betting websites, both concepts that revolve around humans getting fucked up in several ways. Betting websites like bwin have been proven to be an absolute rip-off for the average sports fan, a systematic scheme to lure money out of someone’s pocket, yet advertising it whenever possible seems fine to Sky and the management of the Premier League or Bundesliga. And there are far worse examples, such as the Australian Football League, where entire TV programs are sponsored by one of the most dubious betting websites in existence: Tom Waterhouse.
But maybe esports is different. Maybe within the eSports industry we care less about the money and more about the consumer. We don’t want those gambling or alcohol brands to take over eSports, we want to keep esports child-friendly. We care about the consumers well being and safety, and after all, You Porn content is meant to be viewed by adults only. Which is totally happening in a world where teenagers under the age of 18 have internet access.
Sarcasm aside, if the “consumers well being” is legitimately the main concern of the ESL when it comes to this decision, how come companies like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Monster Energy or Red Bull are allowed not only to sponsor players and teams but entire events and leagues even? Or how about Kinguin or G2A, websites whose entire business model actively relies on people scamming gaming developers? Yes, Riot Games made sure that the amount of Kinguin branding G2 eSports (Formerly known as Team Kinguin before the rebranding) is allowed to show is limited, but after they won the Europe LCS Spring Split and the Hearthstone ATLC #1, I hardly think that matters anymore. The thing is, I can accept all of these debatable sponsors by looking at them as a “necessary evil” in order to support eSports. But I don’t see how YouPorn should be banned from having an eSports team, other than an extremely regressive way of thinking about sex, especially when shameful organizations that promote illegal scamming activities and gambling are fine with the ESL.
One question I want to raise here: Does the ESL actively try to stop teenagers under the age of 16 to watch their CS:GO tournaments? After all, CS:GO is a game for people aged 16 and up. Providing a filter in a similar fashion to YouTube in order to ensure that noone under the age of 16 watches CS:GO ESL events surely would be something that should be put in place, if the consumer is the ESL’s main concern – right?
In a world that is going in the direction of the prediction that Pixar’s Wall-E made a few years ago, the ESL seems to think that pornographic content is worse for society than junk food actively ruining the health of generations, minors gambling or scammy business models ruining the games industry. Oh and by the way: Booth babes, I mean “cheerleaders”? Totally fine. Just don’t have a “YP” present on your logo and you’re gucci.
Hypocrisy at its finest.