Red Bull’s venture into competitive League of Legends has suffered a minor setback as Riot Games impose their authority on the European Challenger Series newcomers.
Naturally branded as RedBulls, the squad captained by veteran support player Raymond “kaSing” Tsang, had enjoyed a promising start to their competitive venture.
The roster, previously operating under the name “R.B.” enjoyed a successful run through the EU Summer Open CS Qualifiers to secure a slot in the Challenger Series for the forthcoming split.
The team will have to revert back to their former name however, following a dispute with Riot Games.
Riot have decline to offer clarification on the move, explaining that the decision was made as a result of “certain formalities not yet being locked”, a move likely to be a result of a conflict of interests in branding.
Notably, the team’s logo – featuring the trademark red bull associated with the energy drinks brand – has been wiped from all official Riot Games eSports platforms.
Due to certain formalities not yet being locked, Red Bulls of the EU Challenger Series will be referred to as Team RB until further notice.
— lolesports (@lolesports) 18 June 2017
There may well be others factors at play in Riot Games’ decision to lock horns with the Red Bull brand. The game publishers’ sponsorship rules may also be infringed by Red Bull’s choice of name and branding.
Red Bull sponsors a number of League of Legends professionals, including Team SoloMid’s Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez.
xPeke, who became the first Red Bull athlete in eSports back in 2015, owns a majority stake in Origen, Team RB’s rivals in the EU CS. Riot Games could potentially have seen these links as a conflict of interest within the league.
Though the friction between Red Bull and Riot Games presents a complicated situation, it is by no means the first time an organisation has been forced to withdraw sponsorships or remove elements of branding.
Team Kinguin were forced to cease their sponsorship of EU LCS team G2 Esports when Kinguin themselves entered the EU Challenger Series in Spring.
Red Bull will wish to maintain positive relations with Riot Games moving forwards and may need to jump through a series of bureaucratic hoops in order to do so.
With franchising potentially on the horizon for the European region, Red Bull will be keen to avoid any further conflict.