This year’s rules amendments to the Capcom Pro Tour have been a matter of heated discussion, namely in how they may close doors to sponsorships due to the restrictions against products–and companies that create products–marketed to adults. The Bud Light All-Stars–quite obviously a promotion run by a company “that manufacture[s], sell[s], [and] distribute[s]…alcoholic beverages,” something expressly banned by the Capcom Pro Tour’s amended rules–is one that falls into such problematic territory.
In the wake of Panda Global’s Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez being nominated and subsequently voted in by his fans to represent Street Fighter in the program, Capcom USA’s director of digital media and eSports, Neidel “Haunts” Crisan, explained to the /r/StreetFighter community how he actually greenlit Street Fighter’s inclusion in the Bud Light program, and is still in regular communication with Anheuser-Busch regarding its future.
According to his posts (edited for clarity): “We’re looking at how pro sports handle this stuff as well, and from what I’ve seen a lot of these brands typically buy media (ad space) rather than sponsor teams/players, though there are exceptions … In short, we’re talking with these brands assuring them we aren’t closing the door and want to keep the conversation going in terms of how they would integrate into this space.”
Regarding what sponsors might be deemed acceptable, Crisan adds: “For player sponsorships, it’s a tough decision to make, and honestly the community wasn’t wrong saying it’s a bit hypocritical to ban some adult product sponsors but allow others. A lot of it comes down to being fair to the players. We don’t want to get into a situation where we’re playing favorites and saying ‘Oh yeah we’ll promote this player’s sponsor, but not this other player’s sponsor’.”
Crisan indicated that we would be hearing more on this subject after Street Fighter V’s upcoming June update. The original Reddit discussion can be viewed here.