A sex toy company’s bid to find a new international audience has been put on ice after broadcasters have refused to carry the live stream of the Olympic event they’ve sponsored.
Qualifying heats of the Olympic curling competition were not aired in the US or Japan due to advertising from EasyToys – described as “the market leader in the Netherlands and Belgium” for adult toys.
The company’s logo, which is not in itself explicit, was displayed on boards around the rink as well as being imprinted on the ice for the event.
USA Curling tweeted on that video of the American team’s opening-round match would not be available due to “an unforeseen sponsorship conflict with the local organising committee.”
Broadcasts of future matches, involving teams from New Zealand, Latvia and Estonia, have also been scrapped.
A spokesperson from Japanese national broadcaster NHK said the network would not be covering the events due to EasyToys’ involvement.
"The guidelines call for caution over content that can have an effect on minors and there was a risk that it contravened good taste," they explained.
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Dagmar van Stiphout, project manager of the competition, said World Curling had been made aware of EasyToys' sponsorship agreement in advance.
"We have made clear agreements with the WCF," he told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
"They know who our partners are and we have permission to do so.
"We have acted very carefully.
"Now we have found out that a number of broadcast partners feel that they cannot broadcast the matches."
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He maintained that the events would still go ahead, even without the media coverage.
It’s not the first time EasyToys’ sponsorship programme has sparked controversy.
The company sponsored the shirts of Dutch football team FC Emmen, but the team was banned from using them by the KNVB, Dutch football’s governing body.
"It is not appropriate to display sponsorship from the sex industry on match kit," the association said at the time, adding "we must take into account that football is for both young and old."
Eventually a compromise deal was reached, allowing the Eerste Divisie side to wear kit sponsored by the company for one season, rather than the original three-year contract.
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