Richard Lewis calls on ESL to stop sponsorship deal with the US Army

Esports journalist Richard Lewis in his column for Dexerto has called on ESL to refuse its partnership with the US Army and, in particular, with the Air Force of the country. In his opinion, such cooperation goes against the values of esports.

 Given the current geopolitical situation and the resulting decisions our industry has made in light of the death and destruction in Ukraine, I would very much like esports companies, particularly ESL, to stop advertising the US military. If esports is populated by people who want peace then it cannot be acceptable to advertise those that would wage war. It is non compatible with our collective values.

Lewis drew attention to the fact that the US Air Force advertisements shown during esports tournaments do not warn about the possible damage from military service.

To say it’s a bum deal would be a real understatement and yet we allow military entities to falsely advertise the soldier’s experience without batting an eyelid in a society that runs ‘awareness’ campaigns on drinking, smoking, gambling and fast food. My generation was propagandized by TV commercials showing us a character called Frank windsurfing, hang-gliding and drinking with a beautiful woman on his arm. "To be Frank, join the army," they’d tell us. Why are they not legally mandated to show Frank with his guts hanging out around his knees, the same way tobacco companies have to show me lung cancer?

The journalist believes that after ESL was bought by a Saudi Arabian investment fund, this company does not have an urgent need for money from the US army. He also suggested that ESL send all the money earned from the advertising contract in favor of people affected by American air strikes.

The solution is straightforward enough. To ESL, you don’t need the money. You sold out to the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. It will not harm you financially in any significant way to immediately terminate this relationship and in doing so you will show a continued commitment to using your platform for good works. I would also suggest taking the total amount of the money you earned from this sponsorship deal and distributing it among the many fine charities that try and assist the civilians whose lives have only been ruined, as opposed to ended, by US bombs.

ESL and the US Air Force have been partnering since the beginning of 2020. As part of the advertising contract, the US Air Force sponsors the Intel Extreme Masters events and ESL Pro League seasons.