Yesterday we reported that team Reunited are no more, as they have ceased all operations, leaving their Overwatch team to find somewhere else to play. The team did, however, take to Reddit to host an AMA, answering questions about the closure.
When asked about whether the release of two players was linked to the closure of Reunited, Frederik Kragh Christensen, Managing Director of Reunited, said: "It is closely correlated yes. We also wanted to give Winghaven and Onigod a fair chance to seek new opportunities without it conflicting and potentially drown with today's announcement."
Thomas "Morte" Kerbusch, a player who's staying with the roster as they move on, also chipped in: "It was a separate decision & we obviously didn't think it was fair holding on to them so we released them so they could look for new opportunities as soon as possible. On a side note, both Winghaven and Onigod deserve the best and I have no doubt we will continue seeing them in the top of the Overwatch scene!"
The team were also asked whether the lack of European Overwatch competitions made it difficult for them, to which Christensen responded: "Yes, the scarcity of EU tournaments (compared to NA) has indirectly affected the EU-based teams both financially and competitively. The team exposure is lower = lower bargaining power in sponsorship negotiations + competitiveness/tournament frequency is lower = questions are raised about the competitive status of your roster (e.g. you fall down the Gosu rankings simply due to no official matches being played) + players have less potential up-side prize money wise = players incentivised to go to NA."
The same user also asked the team to clarify what they meant when they said that the Overwatch League didn't fit with their financial model. "Our financial runway was simply too short for reaching the league, or at least reaching a point with more concrete league information on the table," Christensen explained. "We had promising leads with investors and sports clubs from NA/EU, but they could not commit without more security/information league wise. I personally believe the league has a promising format and I am impressed about how Blizzard is challenging the standards."
In the AMA Reunited's COO Christian Jantzen had the chance to defend Blizzard's format too. "There is one thing critics of Blizzard's format needs to realise: running a team is a horrible business," he said. "In the "traditional model", hardly any teams are making money and it will never be sustainable in the long run if things don't change. The best example of this is seen with LCS, where team owners are pouring money into a black hole at the moment. I see a lot of the critique as fear of change, more than anything else. But, I have yet to see a strong suggestion on how the ecosystem can thrive under the current model. So I think Blizzard's version is a step in the right direction and it will be interesting to see how it competes with the current models in esports."
Jantzen also explains that the decision to announce the release of two players separately was done because they "didn't want the release statement of Oni and Wing to "drown" in this announcement, as it is only fair to create the best possible opportunities for them to find new teams."