Official: BLAST ends partnership with NEOM

The Danish company confirmed that it was a mutual decision and pledged to continue to help the Middle Eastern esports scene to grow.

BLAST has ended its partnership with Saudi Arabian futuristic city NEOM just two weeks after the deal was announced, as first reported by The tournament organiser confirmed the decision on Thursday in a statement first revealed by Danish newspaper B.T., saying that the two parties reached a "mutual, professional, and respectful agreement" to terminate the contract.

The decision came after BLAST faced intense scrutiny from on-air talent, the community and the tournament's own partner teams since the deal was announced on July 28. The partnership was widely criticised due to Saudi Arabia's history of human rights violations and the fact that NEOM is being built on land that is partially occupied by the Huwaitat tribe, who are being forcefully evicted.

BLAST, which had described the partnership as a "record deal", did not say how this decision will affect the company's future operations. But despite this setback, BLAST restated its commitment to continue to develop the esports scene, including in the Middle East, where it has already hosted two events (Turkey in 2018 and Bahrain in 2019).

"BLAST remains focused on increasing access and involvement to esports, and we will continue to seek to expand our global footprint including in the Middle East," the Danish company added.

BLAST is the second esports company to end a partnership with NEOM in the last two weeks after Riot Games backed out of a deal that would see the futuristic $500 billion mega-city become the official partner of the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) after public outcry.

2020-08-13 12:35
23 replies
Sweden quacke
Really strange why BLAST would even sign the deal in the first place, knowing how vocal the esports industry is about this kind of stuff. The backlash was inevitable. They must have got a shit ton of cash in advance or something.
2020-08-13 13:45
21 replies
Meanwhile almost all organizers make huge deals with partners that have reputations of luring kids into gambling. Is the line only drawn at human rights issues, which isn't even necessarily proven to be on the business itself, but on the state? It annoys me to no end that the community keeps legitimizing those shady fucks, I can't wait for a wide EU ban of marketing for gambling.
2020-08-13 13:54
17 replies
2020-08-13 14:14
Argentina Joedash
I mean, i bet in CS:GO teams and Dota 2 teams, but addiction will always be there. I agree that the idea of marketing this web sites isnt right, but i like betting to get the skins i want tho xd.
2020-08-13 14:32
Sweden quacke
Sure, but I guess forcibly removing an indeginous tribe is a bit more unethical than gambling. I'm more surprised they went for it from a business standpoint. Seems like a bad deal in every outcome.
2020-08-13 14:37
2 replies
Taking* advantage of kids by getting them addicted to gambling is just as bad, in my book at least. Several of the big sites today are the same that used to have no age restriction and/or use skins instead of money to abuse an unregulated market and circumvent laws such as ours. They should all be in jail.
2020-08-13 14:41
1 reply
Sweden quacke
Yeah, it still sucks, don't get me wrong. But it's unrelated to NEOM, where people are being forcibly removed from their homes and in some cases even being shot and killed for not wanting to leave. It's absolutely disgusting. My point was that, from a business standpoint, a partnership with NEOM was a bad move from the beginning because this backlash was inevitable. It might have been possible to get away with it in a bigger sport like football or motorsport, where there's a much bigger non-vocal audience, but in esports a much bigger part of the fanbase is aware of everything happening and is very vocal about stuff like this. We've most recently seen this with the whole leaf cheating-shitfest and everything surrounding gaules. No matter how BLAST went about this deal, it was gonna be a failure. And that's why it's so mind-boggling to me why they even signed at all.
2020-08-13 15:13
2020-08-13 14:41
+1.don't forget that noone cares when there's partnership with china aswell. a country that has concentration camps.
2020-08-13 15:32
4 replies
2020-08-13 21:47
Denmark LeCerveau
2020-08-15 12:46
You nerd brainwashed by fake news. You should pay a visit yourself rather than believing in dishonest medias.
2020-08-20 21:34
1 reply
I would still hate on china even if the camps werent real
2020-08-24 06:26
+ And also HLTV showing odds from bookies like 1xBet and ggbet . Everybody know this bookies scaming people changing odds after matches end , not paying out people and making problems to cashout asking to verify account 10times . Should we ask HLTV to stop showing odds from this bookies on their site.
2020-08-13 15:46
And Chinese money is still more than welcome too. They would money from nazies if they were around.
2020-08-13 16:23
United Kingdom JupiterACE
csgolounge got me addicted to gambling at probably 16, and while it's "under control" now, I still gamble maybe 40 quid a month on cases
2020-08-13 18:02
2020-08-13 20:00
2020-08-14 07:24
+1, fuck bettors.
2020-08-24 13:42
United States GameZ_iwnl
Given that we really still are dealing with the shady gambling era of CS, im not surprised at all. Business wise, this is a great move for BLAST and Refresh, but the morality behind it is terrible. Had they used an outside parent company or agency and worked through that with BLAST or Refresh being a 3rd party, then maybe they couldve lasted longer. Its a shame Saudi has to do all this for the city, because I genuinely had hopes this could help develop the middle eastern scenes to atleast produce consistent T3-T2 talent, and maybe 1 or 2 respectful teams. We need more diversity outside of whatever the top NA team is, the main EU countries, NaVi, and whatever Brazilian team is in form. Even Au still has some okay teams outside Renegades getting credit at a T3 level, but the ME only has ISSAA, W0xic, and XANTARES (if you count Turkey)
2020-08-13 19:47
2 replies
Sweden quacke
Yeah, when I first heard about NEOM I was stoked as fuck, a completely new city built on top modern technology? Sounds like a recipe for a massive chunk of human technological development and setting a precedent for city development going forward! Then I learned about the rest of the shady shit and well, however epic this city could be the ends don't justify the means. EDIT: And again, to clarify, obviously I'm not surprised big esports orgs are doing shady ass shit, but from a business POV, this was always going to give them a shit ton of backlast. The esports community is very vocal about things like this, compared to football for example, where a large part of the audience is non-vocal about this kind of stuff. In esports everyone is pretty deep into it, and news like this reaches everyone very quickly, who are very vocal about it.
2020-08-13 20:03
1 reply
United States GameZ_iwnl
+1 I supported NEOM until i realized it was a Saudi project
2020-08-15 01:22
2020-08-13 16:34
Finland Cucumber))
2020-08-13 12:35
Can someone tell me why this partnership was hated by almost anyone? xd
2020-08-13 12:37
11 replies
one of the people is like a criminal supporter and its in sudi they dosent really have good values for all humans (I THINK) NOT SURE
2020-08-13 12:43
5 replies
lol then I'm happy it ended
2020-08-13 13:06
3 replies
Denmark Almoe
i will not stand for this NEOM partnership.. but i will keep buying products made in human sweatshops - sincerely CS "talent"
2020-08-13 14:26
2 replies
United States JoshDAA
They get paid though, whilst with NEOM they are getting kicked out of their home and killed if resisting
2020-08-13 15:41
1 reply
Denmark Almoe
get paid
2020-08-13 17:00
Sweden quacke
Also true, but mostly #17. There's a general frown on cooperating with Saudi Arabia in general, but even more so with the NEOM project because of what #17 linked below.
2020-08-13 13:46
1 reply
shame ty
2020-08-13 13:06
Because everyone hates Saudis?
2020-08-13 13:25
1 reply
I guess
2020-08-13 13:26
United States GameZ_iwnl
Saudi is a terrible country in terms of morals and it makes people angry that companies want to do business deals with them. They treat women and the LGBTQ+ terribly, which is the main thing for them atm
2020-08-13 19:48
2020-08-13 12:36
"mutual, professional, and respectful agreement" i find it hard to believe that it was mutual
2020-08-13 12:37
2 replies
If it wasn't mutual, then they would have to abide by the contract. You can't just cancel a contract just because you feel like it. They've likely paid a certain amount in compensation, in a mutual agreement.
2020-08-13 13:57
1 reply
United States GameZ_iwnl
Likely Saudi probably demanded they pay them back for any cash BLAST/Refresh already received
2020-08-13 19:49
2020-08-13 12:37
Wise decision
2020-08-13 12:38
don't care
2020-08-13 12:39
Bulgaria aTa1337
didn't ask
2020-08-13 12:39
good choice!
2020-08-13 12:40
2020-08-13 12:42
NiKo | 
Russia w3ll
2020-08-13 12:42
2020-08-13 12:45
2020-08-13 12:56
1 reply
Oh yes, standing against genocide is ruining the world. Nt kiddo.
2020-08-13 16:13
2020-08-13 13:00
JW | 
Russia humen))
was obvious this was already decided when astralis made a publicity stunt out of "taking a stand"
2020-08-13 13:00
Right decision.
2020-08-13 13:07
Good move took a lot of pressure but glad they did
2020-08-13 13:12
Howeitat tribe not Huwaitat
2020-08-13 14:05
Poland Szcz
2020-08-13 14:10
they deleted the previous post wtf?
2020-08-13 14:17
Canada cLutcheR7
Good choice. NEOM is shit.
2020-08-13 14:29
1 reply
2020-08-13 15:06
2020-08-13 14:32
Turkey erturkgg
Lets go rfrsh ent <3
2020-08-13 14:33
Aside from everything people is proclaiming, this might've been the only chance for a scene to develop in the MENA region in cs since it lacks any tournaments whatsoever.
2020-08-13 14:43
RIP Blast
2020-08-13 14:44
Poland SebL
Great decision.
2020-08-13 14:52
They shouldn't have even contemplated the deal in the first place. They have no morals at all, they only care about their image.
2020-08-13 16:06
CIS 2ocean
israeli tear palestine land and force 1,2kk arabic refugees to run from their homeland: ZzZzZzZ arabs are not tolerated to gays: WTF HUMAN RIGHTS FUCK ARABS INTRODUCE SANCTIONS TO ALL ARABS THEY HATE GAYS
2020-08-13 16:38
6 replies
homeland? lmfao 0/8
2020-08-13 16:53
5 replies
CIS 2ocean
"Palestine was conquered by the Islamic Caliphate, beginning in 634 CE. In 636, the Battle of Yarmouk during the Muslim conquest of the Levant marked the start of Muslim hegemony over the region, which became known as Jund Filastin within the province of Bilâd al-Shâm (Greater Syria). In 661, with the Assassination of Ali, Muawiyah I became the Caliph of the Islamic world after being crowned in Jerusalem." Isn't that mean that palestine is a homeland for arabs?
2020-08-13 18:38
4 replies
Ah yes my apologies, I forgot the UK, France and Greece should all return to Italian control. If your logic of past occupation is to be followed.
2020-08-13 20:02
3 replies
But they were born in the country...
2020-08-14 08:07
2 replies
So Roman britons should own the UK then? My apologies for the misunderstanding
2020-08-14 10:19
1 reply
own? no they just shouldn't be kicked out of their own country because they were born there.
2020-08-14 14:14
Get your facts right, Mira. Istanbul is not considered Middle East by any stretch of the imagination. Its foundations even are in Europe. Jesus Christ.
2020-08-13 16:45
2020-08-13 16:59
2020-08-13 17:47
Switzerland Mikestuff
Partnership with Arabic company in which country LGBT and Feminist community have no defence - bad Partnership with bookmakers companies which can make everyone into gambling addicts - good
2020-08-14 10:33
Bulgaria mythr0x
2020-08-14 13:55
good news day
2020-08-18 18:52
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