Toronto Esports have announced that they will be pulling out of Overwatch effective immediately after being informed by Blizzard that they would have to re-brand to continue competing in Contenders.
The ruling comes as a result of the new Toronto-based Overwatch League franchise, Toronto Defiant, having purchased exclusive rights to the Toronto name within Blizzard’s Overwatch leagues and tournaments.
Toronto Esports were apparently given six weeks to change their branding, but instead have opted to depart from the game entirely and immediately, declaring “good riddance” in their announcement.
We have been informed by Blizzard that we will be forced to remove “Toronto” from our brand in only 6 weeks. Mid Contenders season 3. The reason cited: @TorontoDefiant have purchased “exclusive naming rights”. We will be leaving Overwatch effective immediately. Good riddance.
— Toronto Esports Club (@TOesports) November 13, 2018
The announcement comes shortly after Toronto Esports came under criticism for some of their recent social media interactions.
Some examples of the behavior included retweets on political topics from the official account and owner Ryan Pallett’s responses when the organization was criticized by fans and other industry figures.
This is not how I expect an owner of an esports organization to act towards its fans. This is not appropriate way to act, nor am I happy as a former fan of this organization @TOesports pic.twitter.com/IUQgWFDu5C
— Marc Rudkowski (@inacubicle) November 10, 2018
I will not reply to someone who DM's me saying I'm a "coward". Get over yourself.
You're an Owner of an Esports Organization, behave as one. pic.twitter.com/bF2lpevI1h
— C9 Mateus (@Portilho) November 11, 2018
Toronto Esports had also faced criticism for their approach to developing a rivalry with the Toronto Defiant, which many fans viewed as excessive goading on social media in an attempt to provoke a show-match between two teams competing at different levels of the competitive Overwatch hierarchy.
Toronto Esports was acting as the academy team for Boston Uprising. Chris ‘Huk’ Loranger, President of Gaming for Uprising owners The Kraft Group, has stated that the team and staff contracts, as well as the Contenders slot, will remain with Boston, and that they had no input in Toronto Esports’ decision to pull out.
The team will continue to compete in Contenders, with a new name and brand to be announced at an as-yet undetermined time.