Red Bull to end sponsorships with TSM and C9 due to Riot restrictions, reports suggest

According to reports from ESPN, Red Bull Media House is in the process of ending sponsorships with Cloud9 and Team SoloMid as they address what reports suggest Riot believe could be a potential conflict of interest. 

It comes as Riot tweeted that the team would not be called Red Bulls until further notice (pictured above). As the company now has its own team, ESPN reports that a conflict arises with Riot Games’ strict sale of sponsorship rules. Red Bull are no stranger to falling foul of ownership rules and potential conflicts of interest — it’s been recently announced that R.B. Leipzig will be allowed to compete in the Champions League as well as R.B. Salzburg, after much debate over potential conflict of interest.

Red Bull run a dedicated esports content portal and is known well in the Dota scene for its extensive coverage of four-time Major champions OG. Elsewhere, they have an array of Red Bull “athletes” across multiple esports, although there’s no easy way to find an up-to-date list. The likes of August “Agge” Rosenmeier, PSG eSports FIFA player is but one example.

A particularly notable element of ESPN’s report was that TSM Smash players William “Leffen” Hjelte and Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios will have to have visa changes made. Reports state that they were employed by Red Bull and had their accommodation booked by that company — due to FGC players being ineligible for P-1A visas. An ESPN source suggests that the status will be resolved “without any hiccups”. 

Esports Insider says: Riot remain strict on pretty much everything. Meanwhile, in the wonderful world of Valve there’s multi-team ownership all over the place and probably more conflicts of interest than you can shake a stick at. There has been precedent set by Riot so this is hardly surprising.