ESL officials sent an email to Team YP stating that it is enacting a new rule which prohibits teams from having sponsors that are “widely known for pornographic… or other adult/mature themes and products,” according to an article from VentureBeat.
This is not the first time Team YP has come under fire for its sponsorship. In June last year the team’s branding was banned from the CEO 2015 fighting game tournament series, meaning players couldn’t wear their team jerseys. The same thing happened in December by Capcom, with Team YP giving the players a censored version of the shirt, with the logo and YP name blurred.
Team YP was founded in late 2014 and has tried multiple times to separate the esports business from the adult entertainment side of the company—hence using YP instead of the full name YouPorn. The team has appealed to ESL, offering to rebrand completely so there is no reference to YouPorn or the letters YP. But ESL apparently turned down the offer.
Ultimately this ESL ruling affects the players the most. According to its website YP has teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Evolve, as well as players in Mortal Kombat X, Ultra Street Fighter 4, and StarCraft 2.
“[ESL is] taking away opportunities for players to compete,” Street Fighter player Anton “Filipinoman” Herrera told GamesBeat. “At any time, my sponsor could revoke their sponsorship from me or from any of their teams because we are unable to perform with [the YP] tag and branding.”