EXCLUSIVE: 4 OF WME-IMG ESPORTS TEAM LEAVE
TNL Take: For a while now, I've been hearing some rumblings about what's been going on at WME-IMG's eSports division, which they bought 2 1/2 years ago and most famously known for helping Turner create ELEAGUE.
Last Wednesday, I started hearing that major changes were taking place and 1/ To triple-verify this was true unlike other "sources" and 2/ out of respect for those potentially affected, I tweeted the following this past Thursday:
After speaking to multiple parties on Friday and Saturday morning, it was clear that this was true and I followed up with the following yesterday:
[Edit: Another reason why I wanted to triple-verify this is to avoid incorrect headlines like the one below. Notice any changes in the updated article?]
The list of those leaving: Tobias Sherman, Lillia Russo, Imari Oliver and Simon Abitbol. First and foremost, I want to wish those leaving the best in their new endeavors.
[Edit: Just spoke with Tobias and more in depth next week.
"All positive vibes" - Tobias. Let's just say this goes a whole lot deeper.]
However, I also want to stress two very important factors:
- This does NOT mean that WME-IMG is abandoning eSports. In fact, an upcoming The Next Level article talks about a recent major partnership that vastly increased that company's investment in the space.
- As I've mentioned a million times, the eSports "hype" is far from the reality of the current reality around infrastructure and more importantly that magic word, monetization. Every single "pure agent" type company I've spoken with usually begins with "So, how can I make my 10% fee?"
If you believe you can survive on that model within eSports currently, I wish you the best.