LEC ends partnership with NEOM after community backlash

The announcement was made 14 hours ago.

Photo via Riot Games

For most of the day, various LEC talent and League fans condemned the LEC’s decision to partner with NEOM, a Saudi Arabian development. Just over 14 hours after the announcement, however, the LEC has ended its partnership with NEOM.

Alberto Guerrero, the EMEA director of esports, said in a short statement that it “moved too quickly to cement this partnership and caused rifts in the very community we seek to grow.”

“As a company and as a league, we know that it’s important to recognize when we make mistakes and quickly work to correct them,” Guerrero said. “After further reflection, while we remain steadfastly committed to all of our players and fans worldwide including those living in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, the LEC has ended its partnership with NEOM, effective immediately”

After the LEC announced the partnership earlier today, LEC casters and analysts tweeted they were disappointed or frustrated with the league’s decision to partner with NEOM. Many fans also said the partnership contradicted the LEC’s support for the LGBTQ community, especially since the league’s Twitter profile picture features its logo with the rainbow flag colors.

NEOM is a planned city in the northwest land of Saudi Arabia that will border Egypt, Israel, and Jordan, according to its website. It operates on behalf of the government of Saudi Arabia, which outlaws same-sex sexual activities and does not recognize same-sex marriage, domestic partnerships, or civil unions.

BLAST Premier, a CS:GO tournament organizer, also announced a partnership with NEOM yesterday.

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Preston Byers
Dot Esports associate editor. Co-host of the Ego Chall Podcast. Since discovering esports through the 2013 Call of Duty Championship, Preston has pursued a career in esports and gaming. He graduated from Youngstown State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2021.

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