Having a big sponsorship reveal is usually met with excitement since it's perceived as a step forward for any organisation striving for longevity in esports. This has been far from the case for the Guangzhou Charge.
(Picture: Guangzhou Charge)
The Overwatch League team recently crowned Summer Showdown Asian Champions announced that Herbalife Nutrition would become their main sponsor and partner for the next three years, and fans are not pleased with their decision.
We're excited to announce Herbalife Nutrition as our primary sponsor and official nutrition partner for the next 3 years! Let's #ChargeFoward together toward high performance through improved nutrition and a healthy active lifestyle! pic.twitter.com/GFfrn1DgH4— GuangzhouCharge (@GZCharge) July 11, 2020
As a company focused on the development and distribution of dietary supplements, Herbalife has been under scrutiny for operating a business model that has been likened to a pyramid scheme, having to pay up to $200 million in fines for it.
There is a reason Herbalife is banned in several countries. Not only has this company robbed its distributors of money, its products are known to cause serious health issues. People have died from using these supplements.— Mand0lyn (@CapnOA) July 11, 2020
"There is a reason Herbalife is banned in several countries. Not only has this company robbed its distributors of money, its products are also known to cause serious health issues. People have died from using these supplements.", Twitter user Mand0lyn replied.
A Reddit user pointed out how esports is letting sponsors that have been present in traditional sports into the scene: “Following the path of traditional sports I see, esports is taking the step from being sponsored by synthetic beverages and LED lights to being sponsored by betting websites and MLM companies.”
Herbalife currently holds the longest-running partnership of the Major League Soccer, acting as the main sponsor for the LA Galaxy, among many other types of deals in sports.
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At the moment, only a handful out of the 20 OWL teams boast sponsorships such as the one Charge unveiled. Recently, another controversial partnership arose when NRG, the owners of the San Francisco Shock, teamed up with the US Army.
Other deals involving Overwatch League teams include Vancouver Titans partnering with convenience store Circle K, Seoul Dynasty and Netgear, Toronto Defiant and Bell Canada, and Atlanta Reign and Cox Communications. All of the companies are featured in the team's official jerseys.
Few details of the partnership were revealed, however, it was noted to be a three-year contract, meaning fans of the Overwatch League can find one positive in the deal - there is someone other than themselves that still believe in the product.