Last month, it was revealed that Riot Games’ CEO, Nicolo Laurent, had been accused of inappropriate sexual misconduct by a former Riot employee, prompting an internal investigation.
The allegations now appear to have cost Riot one of its biggest sponsorship partners for the League of Legends esports scene. According to Dot Esports’ Jacob Wolf, gaming PC brand Alienware has ended its League of Legends sponsorship deal with Riot ten months early. Wolf’s sources claim that Alienware was concerned about Riot’s public image following the latest scandal to hit the developer. This would mark the first loss of a major partner since the allegations against Laurent were first made.
Alienware’s sponsorship covers all of Riot’s major League of Legends regional and international competitions, including leagues like the LEC or the LCS as well as global events like MSI and Worlds. As a result of Alienware supposedly ending the deal, its branding was removed from last weekend’s broadcasts.
In a statement provided to Dot Esports, Riot says: “Alienware has been a valuable partner to Riot since January 2019. We can’t comment on our agreement with them at this time due to confidentiality obligations. As we continue discussions with them, we have removed their branding from our broadcasts.”
The deal between Riot and Alienware was set to last for three years, ending in January 2022.
Since Alienware first began sponsoring Riot’s League of Legends competitions, it has endured a number of controversies. These include the LEC’s highly-criticised partnership with Saudi Arabian venture NEOM and a Riot executive resigning after publicly posting “abhorrent” comments about the death of George Floyd at the hands of US police officers. The allegations of misconduct against Laurent, however, appear to be the final straw for Alienware.