NRG recently sold its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster to Evil Geniuses, then watched from the sideliens as won its biggest tournament ever at ESL One New York in the end of September.
NRG’s co-CEO, Andy Miller, said it was a tough sale to make in a recent Q&A on Reddit. But he said the game’s scene as unsustainable.
“CS sale was gut wrenching. We built that team the right way for a lot of years. Really like the guys, but the space is crazy,” Miller said in the AMA. “We want NRG to be around for a long time and current day CS model wasn’t going to help us get there.”
Although Miller didn’t give details, he added that “salaries are dumb” and said that a top CS:GO team in North America costs around $2 million per year.
When asked whether the organization will return to CS:GO in the future, the co-CEO responded with “no plans right now.”
NRG entered CS:GO in 2016 after the MLG Columbus Major. The org had several lineups until finding consistency with the trio of Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte, Cvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov and Ethan Arnold.
NRG controls the 2019 OWL champions San Francisco Shock and owns a Chicago-based franchise in the upcoming Call of Duty league. The CoD team is yet to be announced, but it will be managed by Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez, former CEO at OpTic Gaming and now a co-CEO in NRG.
Apparently, having a franchised league is one of things that attracted NRG. Miller hinted that the org won’t enter Dota 2 anytime soon.
“Salaries are huge. Players ask and get pretty much all of the prize money. Teams break up and reconfigure very, very frequently. Impossible to grow a brand or fan loyalty for the org. No real league or governance.”
These teams could be interested because ESL and DreamHack will run an open-circuit called ESL Pro Tour in 2020. This can be the game’s first step towards a franchised-league model in the future.