The North American esports organization Dignitas has parted ways with its founder and managing director, Michael “ODEE” O’Dell.
In its official announcement, Dignitas emphasized the decision was mutual. The organization is currently looking for a new general manager to run its esports operations. Still, why did this happen and what does it mean for both parties involved?
End of an era
Michael “ODEE” O’Dell has been a part of the esports industry since 1999. Of those 20 years, he spent 16 as a part of Dignitas.
Under his leadership, the organization became one of the most recognizable brands in the scene with a strong presence in Clash Royale, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Rocket League.
Not everything was sunshine and rainbows, though. Despite being one of the first—and most popular—competitive League of Legends organizations, Dignitas had a hard time holding its ground in the NA LCS. This culminated in the organization’s relegation in 2016.
Dignitas came back to the LoL esports scene in 2017 following its acquisition by the Philadelphia 76ers only to have its LCS franchising application denied a year later. Now, the organization is looking to take a third shot at League of Legends, which might be one of the primary reasons behind the change in leadership.
The question is whether Dignitas can find someone capable of filling O’Dell’s shoes. Sponsorships and investments are perpetually on the rise in the LoL esports scene, so running a competitive League of Legends team gets more challenging (and expensive) with every passing year.
And while Dignitas made things easier for themselves by merging with an existing LCS team in Clutch Gaming, they still lack several crucial pieces to become title contenders.
As for O’Dell, he seems determined to explore new opportunities.
“I look forward to talking to a lot of people in the next couple of weeks,” he said in his Twitter statement. “I will continue to help build esports as I have been doing for 20 years. I am free to work immediately and my drive to see it succeed is as strong now as it was in 1999.”
And considering the rapid growth of the esports industry, it’s almost certain we’ll see more of O’Dell in the nearest future.