Kinguin, the online gaming marketplace, has announced that it will cease sponsorship of EU LCS team G2 Esports in order to comply with LCS and CS rule sets.
Team Kinguin, an all-Polish League of Legends team, recently qualified for the European Challenger Series via the open qualifier. Following the qualifier, Kinguin stated that they reviewed the LCS rulesets to ensure they were compliant.
“Kinguin believes in a balanced eSports scene and as such the company treats Riot Gaming’s conflict of interest regulations very seriously,” the statement read. “With Team Kinguin’s advance to the EU Challenger Series it is clear to the company that changes will need to be made to ensure a fair playing field in the upcoming Spring Split.”
The rule to which Kinguin referred is the LCS Team Participation Agreement, which states, “The Team Owner shall not (and shall ensure that the Team Managers shall not) (a) own, have or control, directly or indirectly, an equity or financial interest in more than one team engaged in play of the LoL Game in a professional e-sports league…”
This ruleset doesn’t prohibit a CS team and an LCS team from sharing financial interest. However, with recently implemented rules that CS sister teams of LCS teams cannot participate in Promotion to LCS, it’s likely that sponsorship of an LCS team could create a problem for Kinguin should they wish to qualify for LCS.
The move to withdraw sponsorship of G2’s LCS team indicates that Kinguin are serious about their CS team investment. Kinguin, however, will continue to sponsor G2 in their other titles, including Hearthstone, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League, Vain Glory, and Super Smash Bros.
G2 Esports were involved in a conflict of interest dispute last year with Fnatic over a loan provided by Jens Hilgers, minority stake-holder in G2 Esports, to Sannpa Ltd., a Fnatic parent company, to support the launch of Fnatic Gear, Ltd. The dispute resulted in a warning from Riot Games, and it’s likely G2 want to avoid similar conflicts in the future.
You can follow Kelsey Moser on Twitter @karonmoser.