Globe Telecom, a local sponsor for Pokémon GO in the Philippines, ended their contract with Niantic, and on the midnight of March 15 local time, every sponsored gym and PokéStop have been removed from the game.
The night before the termination of gyms, there have been rumors circulating that Globe had already severed ties with Niantic which was confirmed when a number of players tried messaging Globe itself via Facebook and around 10 PM local time, Globe has this to say:
…Yes, the partnership of Globe in Pokemon Go [has] been already ended…
Players also asked if the Sponsored PokéStops and Gyms are going to be removed, but the Globe representatives did not receive any notice of their removal.
So Far, we have not received any official announcement about it. We’ll keep you posted once we get word if there are any confirmation about Globe’s partnership with Niantic.
That question was soon answered when around midnight local time, all the sponsored PokéStops and Gyms disappeared immediately without notice. Local players have been saddened by this; most of them took to social media to express their grief. Some even expressed disappointment, saying they just raided on a Sponsored gym today in hopes that they’ll get an EX Raid invite on the next wave.
What happens when sponsored gyms are removed?
As soon as the gyms are removed, the Pokemon defending the gym are returned to their trainers with full HP but will not return coins. Your gym badge for that gym can still be seen in your profile but, much like your Ace Trainer medal, it will be a legacy badge, in which you cannot make progress with that badge anymore.
There have not been any reports of EX Raids for the sponsored gyms in the last batch so Niantic might have removed these gyms from the next wave in preparation of the gyms’ removal.
What it means for the rest of us
What happened in the Philippines will be definitely be used as an example for other countries’ sponsors in case they terminate their sponsorship with Niantic as well. This may not be the last sponsor to drop out, so be wary of other sponsors that may follow suit, especially if the sponsors are not getting profits from their partnership with Niantic.
The local players did not receive an EX Raid invite from the sponsored gyms before their removal so if you experience the same in your country, chances are they may have terminated the sponsorship deal as well. If that happens, try to contact the company to confirm if they did end their partnership with Niantic.
More Info: pokemongohub.net