Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood has promised to sponsor any League of Legends team sporting a woman on their roster.
The co-founder of the new international eSports betting site made the personal pledge today in a blog post, in which he lamented the lack of women in eSports.
"I love the gaming industry, there are women throughout the industry doing amazing things, from engineering, game design, environmental and character design, and executive leadership roles," Sood wrote. "However, in professional gaming, there’s something really missing."
The former Microsoft Ventures chief and serial entrepreneur within the gaming sphere – founding luxury gaming rig manufacturer Voodoo PC before it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard – pledged to sponsor ‘any professional LCS team with a woman on it.’
"I will do whatever we can to help promote and connect that team with other brands that I currently work with and have worked with in the past," Sood wrote. "That’s my personal commitment. This isn’t a gimmick, this is an effort to make a difference in a space that I can control."
The legality of a betting site sponsoring a team doesn’t factor into Sood’s ruminations, however the pledge appears to be from a more personal perspective.He also expressed his annoyance at current attempts to promote women in eSports, interpreting the public’s reactions to ‘all girl’ teams as ‘gimmicky’ PR campaigns.
"Then there’s the argument that "some sports are for men", like Football," he wrote. "So football answers back with one of the worst examples in regular sports "The Lingerie Football League" – the name itself is an embarrassment to all women.
"I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to do any of that. It’s just not the right way to promote "diversity". It’s certainly not a good way to promote women in tech either. So let’s put the debate aside, and find one professional gamer, a woman, who can compete on the the LCS."
Sood went on to explain his personal motivations for the pledge, stating that his daughter is a keen LoL player who has not pursued a career in eSports due to the lack of visible role models.
"I know for a fact there are good girl players out there, my daughter is an amazing League of Legends player," Sood wrote. "She taught me how to play, she grew up playing games and I started her on Age of Empires at a very young age. She might not be pro worthy, but if growing up she knew there was an opportunity here she might have gone down that path!"