ESforce Holding has announced via press release that its partnership with Natus Vincere will soon come to an end. The contract is expiring this month, and the two entities are now planning on going their separate ways.
This move comes amid recent concerns revolving around ownership conflicts of interest in the esports community.
Resolving conflicts of interest
The World Esports Association (WESA) gave ESforce 18 months to resolve its conflicts of interest. The commission was created amid general suspicion of conflicts of interest within the esports community.
“No team is permitted to be completely or partially owned or controlled by a person or entity that owns or controls another esports team or organization participating in WESA sanctioned events,” said WESA Commissioner Ken Hershman in March.
As far as ESforce and Na’Vi are concerned, Alexander Kokhanovskyy represents the conflict, having a stake in the former and founding the latter. He is now leaving ESforce and will instead be focusing on Na’Vi, as well as his newly founded company, Zero Gravity Group. The media rights of Na’Vi will revert to Zero Gravity.
“Working with ESforce Holding has been a major step in Natus Vincere’s development,” Kokhanovskyy said. “We are now entering a new stage in our club’s history, in which I see greater opportunities for monetizing Na’Vi’s assets using our own resources.”
A hopeful future
Although the two organizations had eight more months to resolve conflicts, both entities are focusing on what’s ahead.
“We are convinced that independent development will have a positive impact on Na’Vi’s identification in the future,” says Na’Vi CEO Yevhen Zolotarov. “In the coming year, we will focus on improving our infrastructure for serving teams and work on the quality and frequency of the content we release, as well as its monetization.”
Not the only organization in this position
ESforce and Na’Vi are not the only organizations facing potential conflicts. In June, WESA also reached out to RFRSH Entertainment, which includes esports teams Heroic, Godsent, and Astralis. WESA gave RFRSH 36 months to resolve its conflicts of interest.
More recently, Riot Games went down a similar path. The company gave notice to three competitive teams — Golden Guardians, Cloud9, and Team Liquid. The organizations’ stakeholders have financial connections to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. WESA gave them 12 months to find a resolution.
As the esports industry continues to mature, clearer guidelines and stricter regulations will no doubt come to fruition.