Following Outcry, Riot Axes Controversial League of Legends Partnership

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor Posted:

Riot Games found itself in a bit of hot water earlier this week after its League of Legends European Championship accepted a sponsorship from a project supported by the government of Saudi Arabia. NEOM, a futuristic city envisioned by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, was announced a "Main Partner" on Tuesday, but the Saudi government's draconian stance on human rights -- particularly its views regarding LGBT rights -- angered players and Rioters alike, to the point that the partnership has now been scrapped.

Riot issued the following statement in light of the situation:

"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. 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."

"In an effort to expand our esports ecosystem, we moved too quickly to cement this partnership and caused rifts in the very community we seek to grow. While we missed our own expectations in this instance, we’re committed to reexamining our internal structures to ensure this doesn't happen again."

The partnership was announced on July 28, one day after Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent wrote an op-ed that described his company's progress in becoming a more inclusive place for people of all backgrounds to work at. It would have been darkly ironic for the deal to have gone through so soon after Laurent's article, though it would have been just as inappropriate had it occurred weeks or months later.

Got a news tip? Contact us directly here!

In this article: League of Legends, Riot Games.

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

More Stories by Jason Winter

Discussion (1)

Urthemiel 3 years ago
HAH! Partnership with those slavers from Saudi Arabia.
That's rich. At least they were smart enough to cancel it fast.

Read Next

RuneScape Dev Video Offers Behind-The-Scenes Look At Desperate Measures

RuneScape's new Desperate Measures quest released earlier this week, and it's pretty likely that a lot of players have experienced the new content by now.

By QuintLyn Bowers - 3 years ago

You May Enjoy

Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League Begins Closed Alpha Testing This Week

If you're selected you can invite up to three friends.

By Troy Blackburn - 23 hours ago
It’s Time To Explore Wizard101’s Version Of The Outback In Wallaru

Wallaru is now live.

By QuintLyn Bowers - 2 days ago
Trove "Punches And Potions" Update Adds 2 New Tradeskills And Finally Gives You Better Effects Visibility

You should have an easier time actually seeing what effects are on your character...and even be able to remove some.

By Michael Byrne - 6 days ago
World Of Tanks Rings In The Holidays With The Annual Holiday Ops Event And A Certain Footballer

Footballer Vinnie Jones is working covertly as Santa’s enforcer.

By QuintLyn Bowers - 1 week ago
New Warhammer 40K: Warpforge Update Reworks The Mission System

Progressing should be easier for players going forward.

By QuintLyn Bowers - 1 week ago