One year from its founding, Reunited, the favorite nephew of the competitive esports world, has breathed its last. The player-owned organization born from Fnatic’s Battlefield team, which focused on burgeoning esports like Rocket League and Overwatch, has released its players to pursue other opportunities.
In an announcement on their website ominously titled “The Reunited Candle is Burning Out,” the esports organization announced that Reunited will cease all operations as of now. The problems, according to the announcement, were mainly financial, with organization founders Frederik Kragh Christensen and Christian Jantzen writing that “the timing of the Overwatch League [conflicted] with our internal financial model, as we are running out of money. Earlier this fall, the news surfaced that we were in talks with several large sports entities, however, none of these were successful due to the uncertainty surrounding the acquisition of league spots.”
Reunited has been a strong Overwatch team since the beginning of the scene, most notably coming in second at the Overwatch Atlantic Showdown. Blizzard has made it clear that future of the game lies in the Overwatch League, though, and without a guaranteed place in it, Reunited couldn’t secure funding. “Our financial runway was simply too short for reaching the league,” wrote Christensen in a Reddit AMA on the subject, “or at least reaching a point with more concrete league information on the table. We had promising leads with investors and sports clubs from NA/EU, but they could not commit without more security/information league wise.”
Despite its role in Reunited’s demise, though, Christensen was outspoken about his belief that the Overwatch League was the right move for the burgeoning esport. “To be very clear: we are not opponents to Blizzard’s work with the league and actually believe that this is what the industry needs to push forward,” he wrote in the announcement. “However, in the case of Reunited, the timing came at the worst possible moment.”
The announcement of the Overwatch League has dealt a serious blow to the European competitive scene
In the same AMA, Thomas “Morte” Kerbusch, support player for Reunited’s Overwatch team, said the team would be sticking together for the foreseeable future. When asked whether or not any organizations were already bidding over the players, he replied with a coy winky face, just to make everyone writing about this feel ridiculous quoting him.
Reunited’s Rocket League team, which they acquired in the fall, is also known for playing at a high level, regularly placing in the top four at tournaments. As of now, their plans going forward are unknown. Since the three were initially a team before being signed by Reunited, playing under the title of the Supersonic Avengers, it’s likely that they’ll remain together in the future.
The announcement of the Overwatch League has dealt a serious blow to the European competitive scene, of which Reunited is only the most recent casualty. With the bulk of Blizzard’s resources going towards fostering a stateside competitive scene to support their league, there’s little left over for EU, and unlike South Korea, there’s no major organized league like OGN to fill the gap. Rogue, one of the top European Overwatch teams, has already relocated to America. It’s likely that more will soon follow.