The LEC has announced many new sponsors lately, but today a new Main Partner for the 2020 Summer Split has been presented, and it has caused a lot of controversy within the community and also between their staff.
— LEC (@LEC) July 29, 2020
Riot Games presents Neom as “a new community that will be the home and workplace for more than a million citizens from around the world who want to be part of building a new model for sustainable living, working, and prospering in Saudi Arabia”.
Neom is actually a company that is 100% financed by Saudi Arabia’s Government. Despite their main purpose is to create a “futurist” city with all the modern resources to support its development, they also want to have an important role in the Esports industry.
Since the Saudi Government is fully involved in this project, Riot Games is now facing a lot of criticism, especially because the LEC has always supported the LGTB community.
Actually, the League of Legends European Championship has proudly kept their identity regarding this topic. This is the current logo, made to support the LGTB community during the “Pride Month”:
In fact, many people in the LEC staff and Riot Games workers belong to the LGTB community, and almost all of them have complained about this new sponsorship.
This is happening due to Saudi Arabia’s policies regarding homosexual rights. While LEC actively defends and supports them, the Oriental country condemns, torture, and many times kill these people.
This has clearly created a conflict of interest that has led many angry fans to reproach Riot Games for only caring about money. Some of them talk about hypocrisy, but these are not the only bad reactions.
As we said before, many people belonging to LEC staff have joined together on Twitter to complain about this situation:
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
Disappointed, heartbroken, devastated, disgusted, betrayed… these are some of the most repeated comments about the announcement, and some people directly referred to the main problem here: hypocrisy.
I understand that a company is not responsible for the laws of the country it resides in, but this is literally an advertisement to go to a location where I and many other #LEC fans could be threatened by torture or even the death penalty for existing.
— Darius (@DariusExMachina) July 29, 2020
According to Riot Games’ presentation, Neom will provide the European competition with a new sponsorship for the “Oracle Lens during live broadcasts which helps players predict the next moves a team will make”.
Neom joins Kia, KitKat, and Alienware as Main Partner starting from Summer Week 7, and Riot Games have not made any other comments for now about all the complaints.