Outside of Summit, The Guard shuts down as esports layoffs spread

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Beyond the Summit (BTS), a leading esports company and production facility, has announced the layoff of all employees. This comes shortly after the traditional sports-based e-sports organization, The Guard, announced it would do the same. These layoffs signal that even well-known e-sports companies are feeling the chill winter e-sports.

Beyond the Summit was founded around 2012 as a passion project driven by a love for the eSports community. Over 11 years, BTS has professionalized and become the leading tournament organizer and production company, especially in the Dota 2 and Smash Bros. More recently, the company has branched out to support creator-driven events.

BTS is known for its unique style, which often focuses on a homely or cozy feel rather than a more traditional stage setup. Through this, BTS has become a key figure in e-sports. Despite their status, BTS is the latest victim of the e-sports winter as layoffs spread.

“Based on our current financial outlook and the level of challenge for the coming year, we have decided that it would be irresponsible to let BTS continue with the current structure. So, after nearly 11 years in business, we have made the extremely difficult decision to let everyone go,” David “LD” Gorman, co-founder of BTS, said in a statement. . declare.


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Gorman insists that Beyond the Summit is closing now so as not to abandon its employees. BTS will keep all full-time employees on payroll for the next 2 weeks and provide severance packages and healthcare insurance to US employees through the end of April. BTS also published a list of 27 affected employees to help them secure a new position.

While it’s possible that esports companies have received VC funding, Beyond the Summit hasn’t received interest from investors, according to Gorman’s statement. BTS values ​​fundamentality and independence with a focus on community service.

Beyond the Summit’s final event will be the upcoming Smash Ultimate Summit 6 which will be held March 23-26.

Traditional sports support is running out

Last week, Protect suffered the same fate as Beyond the Summit. The e-sports organization was founded in 2017 when Kroenke Sports and Entertainment purchased a franchise slot in the Overwatch League. The Los Angeles Gladiators were joined by the Los Angeles Guerrillas in 2019 when the KSE bought a spot in the sister Call of Duty League. In 2021, the team introduced the The Guard brand to create a unified brand for its e-sports activities, including Valorant, Halo, and Apex Legends.

Kroenke Sports and Entertainment is owned by Stan Kroenke. His sports empire included Arsenal FC, The Los Angeles Rams, The Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, etc. During the early Overwatch League, Kroenke’s support alongside non-endemic heavyweights like Robert Kraft (NE Patriots), Comcast Spectacor (Philadelphia Flyers) and Jeff Wilpon (NY Mets) added legitimacy to the league. It helped OWL reinforce its goal of mimicking the structure of traditional sports.

Initial investments from traditional sports snowball. Some sports organizations have seen e-sports as a growth opportunity. Traditional sports leagues like the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS and many soccer clubs around the world have invested in their own eSports leagues and tournaments.

Unlike BTS, the staff of The Guard were blinded by the news. Employees took to Twitter to express their shock and disappointment. Former employee, Hunter Groom, created a Spreadsheet of the 29 affected employees. It is not clear what severance packages were offered.

Esports dismisses the chilling effect

The closure of BTS and The Guard could have a chilling effect on the market.

Beyond the Summit is one of the largest esports tournament organizers not affiliated with a publisher. Last year, Saudi Arabia The public investment fund was acquired ESL, its subsidiary DreamHack and FACEIT. All three of these merged companies are major independent tournament operators. With BTS shutting down, there are even fewer – especially in the US – independent league operators.

Meanwhile, traditional sports companies are the main source of investment and infrastructure for esports. Raising capital will become even more difficult to secure than it is now if interest from traditional sports companies wanes. Likewise, as companies tighten their belts because of the recession, they are looking for opportunities to cut costs. If esports doesn’t show a high ROI for traditional sports teams and leagues, then they can follow in the footsteps of KSE and cut out their e-sports programs.

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