League of Legends casters, broadcast talent, and legendary pro player Yiliang ‘Doublelift’ Peng have hit out at the LEC and Riot Games following the announcement of a new sponsor, NEOM, for the 2020 summer split.
Riot Games and the LEC were met with harsh criticism after the European league announced, on July 29, that they would be partnering with a new sponsor, NEOM, for the remainder of the summer split.
NEOM, a smart-city that is currently being built in Saudi Arabia, is expected to play a role in the LEC’s broadcast, sponsoring a new ‘Oracle Lens’ segment during live broadcasts to predict future plays within a game.
— LEC (@LEC) July 29, 2020
Saudi Arabia has also partnered with BLAST, a CS:GO tournament organizer, in a similar arrangement. Jan Peterson, NEOM’s Sport Managing Director, revealed their aims to “become a global hub for sport that unites communities, enables active, balanced lifestyles, and accelerates innovation.”
In a deal with NEOM, the LEC’s new partnership is set to commence from Week 7, however, many members of the broadcast talent spoke out shortly after it was announced.
Doublelift & LEC members hit out at Riot over new sponsor
Shortly after the announcement, Doublelift quoted the tweet with a sarcastic one of his own, clearly denouncing the partnership.
human rights violation HYPE https://t.co/cpb5FNRHXh
— Yiliang Peng (@TSMDoublelift) July 29, 2020
Among the first to speak out was LEC commentator Daniel Drakos, who shared his frustrations minutes after the announcement was made, claiming that it was ‘not a good day’ to be a member of the LEC.
There have been many good days to be a member of the #LEC team, today is not one of those days.
— Daniel Drakos (@DanielDrakos) July 29, 2020
South African caster Trevor ‘Quickshot’ Henry also hit out over the latest decision, simply responding to the announcement by linking an article on some of the controversies that have surrounded NEOM, since the project was first announced.
— Trevor Henry (@Quickshot) July 29, 2020
Froskurinn also shared her feelings, expressing her disappointment at those within the LEC and Riot who “made these choices,” adding that she feels “silenced” by the move.
This is disappointing because this is the LEC. It's my team, my product, my managers, my office.
My family. My home.
This isn't someone far away in HQ that I don't know. This is devastating because I know who made these choices and I feel silenced.
— Froskurinn (@Froskurinn) July 29, 2020
Many other members of the broadcast team including Laure, Sjokz, Medic, Vedius, and more also took a stand against the latest partnership, expressing their “disappointment” with the LEC.
Disappointment is an understatement.
— Laure Valée (@LaureBuliiV) July 29, 2020
I am terribly disappointed.
— Eefje Depoortere (@sjokz) July 29, 2020
How very upsetting #LEC
— Andy Day (@RiotVedius) July 29, 2020
I cannot express how frustrated and disappointed I am with #LEC today.
— Medic (@MedicCasts) July 29, 2020
— ender (@endercasts) July 29, 2020
I'm still trying to find the words and the only thing I can say is that I do not support this #LEC partnership.
A lot of us were blindsided with the news of this yesterday and we were not told when it would be announced. https://t.co/2Af1iMaBlw
— Shakarez (@Shakarez) July 29, 2020
The LEC Summer Split is currently ongoing, with Week 7 starting on Friday, July 31.