A large scale dispute is currently on-going between the North American organisation, Team Solomid, and the developers and League of Legends, Riot.
The issue boils down to TSM LoL players using a HTC Vive (virtual reality) device to play a game, Raw Data. After uploading the video to their Youtube channel, Riot have threatened to fine the organisation if they don’t take it down, because it is advertising another game and that’s against the rules.
The ongoing dispute has now become public as neither party back down, leading to HTC to make a huge statement that attacks not only this situation, but also other issues involving League of Legends and the problem of advertising their products. The implication is that they will leave the LCS scene as a sponsor if a solution can’t be found.
You can read the full statement over at the HTC Facebook page or read the conclusion of the LoL scene below –
“The HTC eSports team is a small team consisting of members who have been gamers for almost the entirety of our lives, and esports fans for longer than competitive LCS itself. We watch our teams and players week in and week out, fill our social channels with LCS content (and banter), and play the game ourselves. We’ve produced high-quality videos and a Challenger tournament last year which brought exposure to players who are now in the LCS. We hire TSM’s, Cloud9’s, and Team Liquid’s in-house production teams to give them additional ways to earn revenue, rather than outsourcing all of our efforts to third-party ad agencies, and our video scripts are handcrafted by our very own team members in collaboration with our teams rather than outside marketing specialists.
But as we examine the landscape of advertising in the LCS community, we find ourselves at an impasse. If Riot does not want us making videos that feature our sponsored players playing other games, we do not have many options for showcasing our products. In addition, the /r/leagueoflegends subreddit mods do not accept any of our original video advertisements, including videos as well produced as “Retirement Home,” or others that prominently feature our sponsored players. Sponsors are now very limited in what we can do to market our brand and products while still supporting the League of Legends scene.
As one of the first major non-endemic sponsors in the West, we believe we have helped pioneer marketing in esports, and we’ve loved every second of it. But with less avenues for advertisement in League of Legends, stemming from the restrictions on the teams and players, restrictions on the subreddit, and the lack of available marketing opportunities at competitions, it is becoming difficult to justify our investments into the scene.
Going forward, we would love to see clear and reasonable guidelines on how sponsors can market in the space and more marketing opportunities open up with our LCS teams. This will lead to more companies willing to invest in the LCS and create a healthier and more sustainable ecosystem. As a sponsor who genuinely wants to see esports grow, we ask for Riot to understand our difficulties. We hope to see a solution that will benefit all parties involved and ask for proper avenues to discuss problems with our videos and marketing activities if they arise in the future, rather than being informed after the fact by our teams of any issues.”
Full Statement – HTC Esports Facebook