Ninjas in Pyjamas has announced that a split with its main sponsors Betway, citing extra regulations as a part of entering the League of Legends European Championship Series.
Betway signed up with Ninjas in Pyjamas a year ago, and in a blog post explaining the end of the partnership, the partnership is described as “very successful for Ninjas in Pyjamas and Betway” saying that the deal has enabled both brands to “provide our fans with great content and experiences.”
Although the signed partnership was a multi-year deal, this is now coming to an end. The partnership came to a close on August 13, 2017 and has ended as a result of “league participation rules” put into place by Riot.
“Earlier this year we announced our entry to the League of Legends European Championship series. Our return to League of Legends has not been anything but exciting as we entered one of the world’s largest esport titles, bringing a new title to NiP. It is no secret that entering League of Legends comes with a new set of regulations related to the league as it is a different competition in a different competitive landscape. Because of the league participation rules, Betway can no longer be the main sponsor of Ninjas in Pyjamas as of the 13th of August 2017. NiP's relationship with Betway has been one of the most successful team partnerships in esports.”
But what rules could be being broken here?
Looking through the EU rulebook, the biggest clause here could be rule 7.2.4, which states:
"Team Members may wear apparel with multiple logos, patches or
promotional language. All decisions in regard to apparel are at the sole
discretion of the League."
The third example bars jerseys from anything that is: "Containing any material constituting or relating to any activities which are
illegal in any League region, including but not limited to, a lottery or anenterprise, service or product that abets, assists or promotes gambling"
Meaning Betway can't have their logo on the NiP jersey, limiting Betway's visibility from the deal. Similarly, clause 4.3.1 in the EU rulebook specifies that while it's okay for Betway to sponsor NiP, they can't promote them during the use or play of League of Legends, adjacent to League of Legends related material, the LCS, the CS or any other Riot-affiliated event.
In short, Betway can sponsor NiP if they want, but the organisation can't be on the team's jerseys, make content with them using League of Legends, or make promotional material starring them at any events run by Riots.
Meanwhile, it seems to be all smiles at the termination of the partnership, and Betway will still be working with NiP’s Counter-Strike players on an individual basis.
Look everyone, they’re still friends.