Exclusive: London Spitfire In the Process of Releasing Entire Roster and Coaching Staff
Overwatch League team the London Spitfire is currently in the process of releasing or trading its entire roster and coaching staff from the previous season, according to what sources close to the organization have told The Esports Observer. Sources say that while some players and staff have already been released, negotiations are still ongoing as it relates to the trading or releasing of others. The Spitfire is owned by Cloud9 and managed by Guinevere Capital.
Sources also say that the Spitfire is looking towards a new long-term model where the organization will cultivate its own talent from teams such as the British Hurricane, the academy (minor league) team. Additionally, the organization is said to be looking toward Western European players who identify with the geographical market as it relates to sponsorship and partnership agreements.
This pivot in its roster creation strategy also serves as a long term plan that looks to save the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries. While signing the best free agents on the market in hopes of creating a competition team is a valid strategy, COVID-19 has changed the landscape in that recouping that money has become much harder as live homestands events have been shut down with no future plans from league owner Activision Blizzard in sight.
This type of change has some precedent. Last May, the Vancouver Titans and the entirety of its Korean roster fell into disarray when some players decided to return home due to COVID-19. This eventually saw the team separate from the organization on mutual terms, and Vancouver eventually signed a new roster formed primarily of minor league North American and Western European players at league minimum salaries. The new team recorded a 3-10 record during the regular season with its new roster, but did end up gaining a large sponsorship deal with non-endemic brand Domino’s.
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