Sources close to the situation have told The Esports Observer that OverActive Media, the parent company of Toronto Defiant (Overwatch League) and Toronto Ultra (Call of Duty League), have let up to 13 employees go. It is unclear whether these staff cuts are temporary or permanent layoffs.
OverActive Media confirmed the layoffs with The Esports Observer but did not provide specific details on exactly how many people were let go or what teams were affected.
“This has been a tough day. We’ve had to make some very difficult decisions, affecting very good people, in order to ensure our organization is well-positioned to continue to thrive in these challenging times,” OverActive Media Head of Content and PR Paulo Senra told The Esports Observer in a statement.
“It is always hard to see friends and teammates move on. It is perhaps even harder under these circumstances.
“I would like to personally thank each of our colleagues for their tremendous contributions and the passion they have poured into our organization.”
Esports organizations, such as Team Reciprocity have had to make hard decisions in the wake of the economic impact that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had including social distancing that has kept fans at home. These reductions of staff also follow the city of Toronto’s decision to cancel all major events and festivals–including large esports events–until June 30 and Activision Blizzard’s decision to move from homestand games to online-only play for both the Call of Duty League and Overwatch League.
With the entirety of the Overwatch League moving to an online-only format, Defiant loses out on its “Spring Siege” homestand that was set to take place at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto from April 18-19 and its August homestand that was set for August 8-9.
The Call of Duty League went to an online-only competition setup as of March 20, meaning Ultra lost out on two homestands which were to take place March 21-22 and July 18-19.
Along with its Overwatch League and Call of Duty League teams, OverActive Media fields teams in the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) and is a founding member of Flashpoint, a new Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament series that required a $2M USD buy-in.
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