Mentioned in this article

  • After Mitsubishi Motors’ logo disappeared from Hearthstone Grandmasters broadcasts, the company confirmed it has ended sponsorship of Blizzard events.
  • The move follows the controversial suspension of Hong Kong-based Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai over political statements made on broadcast.
  • The league’s Global Finals begin Nov. 1 as part of the annual BlizzCon event in California.

Mitsubishi Motors Taiwan has confirmed to various press outlets that it has ended its sponsorship of Blizzard Entertainment esports events. First reported by The Daily Beast, the Japanese automotive manufacturer’s logo disappeared from broadcasts of the Hearthstone Grandmasters Asia-Pacific division, on which player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai made Hong Kong pro-liberation comments earlier this month. 

Blizzard reduced Chung’s suspension from a year to six months and rescinded its decisions to take the player’s prize winnings and to fire the commentators who were part of the broadcast. This followed criticism of Blizzard’s actions by U.S. politicians and company employees, and boycotts from on-air Hearthstone talent. 

Blizzard President J. Allen Brack issued a statement on the change of punishment, writing “The specific views expressed by Blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made. I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision.” During the backlash, Riot Games and ESL also issued statements that they had asked employees not to comment on political issues while on air.

The Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals will begin on Nov. 1, as part of Blizzard’s annual public convention, BlizzCon. Aside from exclusive broadcaster Twitch, this leg of the competition has no commercial partners, and there has been no change in support from the event’s partners, including MSI, which is based in Taiwan. 

Coca-Cola and ASUS Republic of Gamers have also maintained their partnerships with the Hearthstone Collegiate Championship, in which three American University players were banned for holding up a sign supporting the Hong Kong protests.

 

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