On Wednesday, July 29th, a new sponsorship was announced by the League of Legends European Championship as Main Partner for the rest of the Summer Split, starting on week 7.
The new Partner, Neom, was not at all welcome by the community nor the staff and workers from LEC. The reason for that reaction was that this company basically belongs to Saudi Arabia’s Government, all the capital comes from the Government, and their project is to build a new city in a land where natives have been forced to leave (according to some reports, they are even being threatened and killed) and in a country where being part of the LGTB community is completely forbidden and punished with tortures and dead.
These two reasons, the unethical construction of their project and the lack of LGTB rights, don’t match with the policies, identity, and beliefs that the LEC has always proudly defended, and many of its employees and staff started a chain of complaints to which many other voices from the fans and even the teams joined.
The complaints were so loud, that 14 hours after the presentation of Neom as the new Main Partner, the LEC has released a new announcement to communicate that they are stepping back and cancelling their sponsorship with the Saudi’s company.
With this short message, the LEC has proven that its community is more important than money. Riot Games showed once again that they listen and are willing to change everything that upsets their fans and community.
The LEC recognizes that they made a mistake and, effective immediately, ends its partnership with Neom… but not only that, they are committed to reexamining their internal structures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Now, many messages of relief are running through social media sites and all the people offended by that partnership are thanking the LEC for stepping back and listening to them.
It is important to understand how difficult it must have been for the people in charge to cancel this within 24 hours after the official announcement. Carlos “Ocelote” Rodríguez, CEO of G2 Esports, pointed that right after the new declaration.
This will be taken lightly, but I urge everybody to understand how hard is to do this, let alone do it within 24h.
It is an honor to be on this league.
— ocelote CarlosR (@CarlosR) July 30, 2020