Danish tournament organiser BLAST has terminated its partnership with Saudi tech city NEOM, which was established on July 28th.
The deal was met with backlash from members of talent and the public when it was announced late last month.
The deal would have seen BLAST work with NEOM to help it become a regional esports hub, advising on the creation of an esports academy as well as the expansion of esports within the wider Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
There has been no communication from BLAST via official channels at the time of writing, though HLTV.org has reported that the termination was confirmed today through a statement given to Danish newspaper B.T.
Just one day after BLAST announced its partnership, Riot Games’ LEC also unveiled a deal with NEOM. Though a much less intensive partnership, the European league received widespread criticism and pushback from talent, teams, and fans and soon terminated the partnership on July 30th.
Riot Games has since been reported to have planned an ethics committee and global deals council after the short-lived partnership. The council would implement a track to provide company-wide transparency for “all business development and sponsorship deals occurring in Riot’s global operation.”
Esports Insider says: This just seemed like a matter of time, honestly. It’s good to enter financially-fruitful deals, which we presume this was, but it’s better to ensure you have a fan base at all to leverage in such deals. It’ll be interesting to see how BLAST handles damage control in the coming weeks.