According to internal emails acquired by GamesBeat, it has been discovered that the ESL have cut ties with Team YP, the eSports organisation sponsored by adult entertainment website, YouPorn. Apparently, if these emails are to be believed, the ESL is enacting a new rule with potential teams wishing to compete in their tournaments, banning those with sponsors that are ‘widely known for pornographic … or other adult/mature themes and products.’
There has been a concerted effort to make the YP brand one that can exists separately from its XXX counterpart, which has no direct link to adult material and that is purely safe for work. On the Team YP site, there are no links to their sister site and there is nothing outwardly apparent in Team YP’s marketing that would make it obvious that it is linked to one of the biggest porn sites on the Internet. According to the communications between the ESL and Team YP, there were several appeals by the eSports team to remove all references to ‘YouPorn’ and even the initials YP from their branding but these were denied by the ESL. This shift is more than likely in response to potential sponsors of the ESL withdrawing support knowing that they are affiliated with an adult site.
This is not the first time Team YP have faced resistance from game companies and other eSports organisations when their players have been on stream. At Capcom Cup 2015, Team YP’s Valmaster was listed as not having a sponsor, with none of the stream layouts or tournament listings noting that he was part of Team YP. The same happened for former Team YP member Bizzarro Flame, who was not allowed to use the YP tag whenever he appeared on certain Super Smash Bros Melee streams. Team YP did respond, with the genius ‘censored jersey’ which blurred out their logo so their players could wear it on stream without causing any children watching to instantly turn into sex-crazed degenerates.
This ruling does put into question Team YP’s existence as a profitable eSports team. The ESL runs a large number of eSports tournaments, ranging from shooters like Rainbow Six Siege to fighting games like Mortal Kombat X. If more eSports organisations and tournament organisers start to fold under potential pressure from sponsors, it would mean that they would not be able to compete in future events. I hope this edict is reversed, as Team YP have been nothing but professional in navigating the world of eSports and it would be a shame for the players and team members associated with the brand to be forced out of competition by outside influence.