It appears that a team of gamers has been banned from the Electronic Sports League because of its sponsor.
Team YouPorn, a pro team of players sponsored by the adult site YouPorn, has reportedly been pushed out of participation within the ESL. A new ruling was adopted recently that bars any sponsors "widely known for pornographic or adult themes and products." Obviously, YouPorn meets such a label. Founded in 2014, Team YouPorn started as an eSports organization where players were sponsored in games of varying genres.
Having competed in many tournaments all over the world, players could receive the tools and support necessary to participate. The players that the organization sponsors range from the USA, Greece, Canada, France, United Kingdom, and Russia. Undoubtedly, the ruling from the Electronic Sports League effects many.
According to Polygon, the news was received in an email sent to Team YouPorn by the ESL that was later obtained by VentureBeat. And while the ruling is said to be fresh, a recent statement given by the ESL reports that a rule such as this has existed for quite some time. There was some hope in an appeal being sent to lift the ban on Team YouPorn, but their request fell upon deaf ears and was denied.
It was also reported by VentureBeat that the ESL's ruling had come from the directors of the Electronic Sports League, themselves. Not even a name rebrand, a suggestion by Team YouPorn that would remove the pornographic site from its name, was able to change the decision to ban the eSports organization.
Team YouPorn took to Twitter, weighing in on the ESL's decision.
"We are disappointed by @ESL's decision to ban our esports team. We will continue to strive towards professionalism and transparency", the Twitter post reads.
While this decision affects Team YouPorn, it appears that no other Electronic Sports League organizations have sponsorships of an adult nature that would subject them to a similar fate.
Will shutting out Team YouPorn have a lasting, negative effect on the future of eSports organizations? It would seem that some think so. Supporters and players in the competitive gaming world have been making every effort to bring about a push into the mainstream light. For years, debate has been sparked on whether gaming could truly be considered a sport. The Electronic Sports League makes most of its money through those sponsorships, and there are also publishers who promote games through tournaments and events. According to VentureBeat, it was reported that the ESL advised Team YouPorn that these same publishers maintained contracts that prevented any form of participation by pornographic brands.
Still, Team YouPorn takes the stance that its relationship with the adult website does not reflect a nature worthy of being banned by the ESL. The team's manager, Claire Fisher, spoke to VentureBeat on the issue.
"I am disappointed that Team YP's growth is being stunted by this decision, not to mention the effect that this will have on our roster of players," Fisher said. "While for some, our participation in eSports has been controversial, stopping our players from competing because they are sponsored by us, in spite of Team YP operating as a completely SFW (Safe For Work) brand, clearly separated from any adult content, seems unfair to say the least."
With its success and increasing revenue, the Electronic Sports League is undoubtedly making decisions to preserve its operation. It has been reported by VentureBeat that the ESL wants to work with Team YouPorn, though no further update has been given.
Do you feel that this ruling is necessary and just? Sound off in the comments below and give us your perspective on the Electronic Sports League and its ruling.
[Image Via Miguel Villagran/Getty Images]