Rise Nation Founder Rodger Saffold has perfected the art of owning a top Call of Duty team while also maintaining a career as a professional NFL player over the course of his esports journey.
When it comes to professional Call of Duty at the time of writing, few teams across the scene can compare to Rise Nation in terms of championships and overall prowess following their dominant performance in the CoD: WWII season thus far.
Rise was originally founded in 2014 during the CoD: Ghosts season with a roster consisting of Jonathan ‘Pacman’ Tucker, Daniel ‘Loony’ Loza, Damod ‘FEARS’ Abney, and Jamal ‘Whea7s’ Lee, however, the organization did not start to find storied success until the Black Ops 3 season in 2015.
Since its formation, the team has always had an interesting twist due to being owned by Saffold, an NFL lineman for the Los Angeles Rams, who always expressed interest in the gaming industry for years prior to being drafted in 2010.
However, even though Rise has now become a household name throughout the competitive Call of Duty community and is branching out into other esports titles such as Gears of War and Street Fighter, Saffold recalls how he thought it was ‘more of a hobby’ when first starting out during an interview with ESPN.
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At first we were thinking this was more of a hobby […] But now it has kind of grown, and having more than one team and having players from all over the world has really been shocking thus far. We’re only five years into this.”
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He went on to mention how even though he was wrapped up in the NFL and professional sports in general, he was always just a ‘fan’ of esports, which sparked his interest in owning a team.
“Before I got started with this, I was a fan […] I wasn’t a corporation trying to just get into esports. … So being able to come to these things and just watch game play, because as a gamer, I watch these guys, and I’m picking up tips.”
As of writing, Rise Nation currently sits atop Division B of the CWL Pro League with a record of 6-1, and has already won three major championships throughout the CoD: WWII season at CWL Atlanta, Seattle, and Anaheim,
More information on Rodger Saffold and his involvement with Rise Nation can be found in the official ESPN interview.