Riot Games and the League of Legends community have come to blows in recent weeks and HTC has now gotten involved, hinting that it may pull the sponsorships for LCS if Riot doesn't loosen its marketing restrictions on how it uses its funded players.
To summarise this drawn out and heated bad blood between the League community and Riot, TSM's Andy "Reginald" Dinh gave an interview in which he was critical on Riot for their patch strategy, incoming revenue and a whole host of other things, gathering a lot of interest on the subreddit for League as well.
Riot's co-founder Marc "Tryndamere" Merrill then escalated the situation by posting a comment on the Reddit thread criticising Reginald for investing in other games, underpaying people and suggesting patching issues could be solved by team owners investing in better talent.
The tensions have been high recently, to say the least, and now HTC have got involved by posting a hint on Facebook that they may pull their funding for LCS if Riot doesn't do something about marketing restriction they place on sponsors.
This post was in response to a comment on the Reddit thread discussing the arguments between Tryndamere and Reginald. One user asked about a video Team SoloMid created for HTC and RiotMagus responded by saying it wasn't a HTC promotional video but an advert for another VR game
"Regardless of whether HTC organised this or not, it's a tactic [sic] advertisement for another game" RiotMagus said. "This is against LCS rules because LCS isn't a platform for other game companies to advertise on—yes, this means there's a category that teams don't have access to but for any sport, letting quasi competitors advertise on the league doesn't make sense".
HTC disagrees, saying "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".
"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" it concluded.
The Facebook post ends with HTC saying they hope that "clear and reasonable" rules on marketing may be made but it is clear that HTC is unimpressed with the current situation.
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