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YouPorn-sponsored esports team barred from ESL (update)

League's rules bans sponsors tied to porn, only Team YP is affected

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The esports team sponsored by the adult entertainment portal YouPorn is being forced out of the Electronic Sports League over its ties to a pornography website, reports VentureBeat.

Team YP is getting the gate from the ESL thanks to a rule prohibiting sponsorships by those "widely known for pornographic ... or other adult/mature themes and products." That is according to an email sent to Team YP by the ESL and obtained by VentureBeat.

Update: The ESL has responded in a statement, saying the rule it has against sponsors such as Team YP has been in existence for some time. The entire statement is at the bottom of this story.

Appeals to ESL to reconsider its decision were of no avail. The team even offered to rebrand completely, removing the YP from its name but, VentureBeat said, the new rule came from the directors of the ESL themselves.

The rule only affects Team YP; no other ESL teams have similar sponsorships.

Team YP released these statements on its Twitter yesterday:

Team YP was born in late 2014 when the Spain-based team Play2Win won the sponsorship contract from YouPorn and renamed itself. It has always been named Team YP. It debuted under that name in a Dota 2 tournament in Madrid in December 2014. The team competed in a wide spectrum of games, from Counter-Strike to League of Legends and Street Fighter.

VentureBeat has much more context and reaction from Team YP about the ESL's decision, but no comment yet from the ESL or YouPorn. Polygon has reached out to both.

Update: An ESL representative replied shortly after publication with the following statement.

Advertising pornography is not legal in the markets we operate in, and the vast majority of partners we're working with have strict "no drugs, no alcohol, no pornography" rules that we've contractually taken on board. These aren't new rules, but ones that have been in our rulebooks for a long time. We spoke to the manager of Team YP earlier this year and in that conversation we explained the situation and rules in detail, and offered to look for potential alternatives in a bigger group. At the same time, we are consulting with our legal teams about this. We will inform the team and the management as soon as we have any updates.

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