Coming in hot with great ambition after purchasing the Team Coast’s NA LCS Spot in 2015, NRG Esports was one of the most hyped teams in NA, at least in the beginning of the 2016 NA LCS Spring Split. NRG didn’t do badly in their debut Split, finishing the season smack dab in the middle of the standings at 5th place. Trying to reinvigorate their roster and reach for even loftier goals, NRG Esports upgraded their roster, getting Diego “Quas” Ruiz, Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen, Oh “Ohq” Gyu-min, and Alan “KiWiKiD” Nguyen. It wasn’t meant to be, however. NRG finished the 2016 NA LCS Summer Split in 9th place, not only missing the Playoffs, but also getting relegated after losing to Echo Fox in the 2017 NA LCS Spring Promotion tournament.
The NRG Esports organization invested a lot of money into their League of Legends team, only to be met with failure. With a reasonably good Overwatch team and a CS:GO squad, NRG Esports aren’t without options in their ambition to continue in eSports. That is especially true that you remember that NRG Esports is invested in by NBA personalities. With the sting of relegation fresh on their faces, is it any wonder that NRG are selling their Challenger Series spot to J2K Esports and Technology, a new eSports org, which is supposed to run a team called Gold Coin United, and and seemingly pulling out of League of Legends?
There is a question that should be asked. It is: If Blizzard hadn’t announced the Overwatch League, would NRG Esports have stayed in League of Legends Challenger Series? When we ask something like that, we’re just speculating, however, the answer is probably “Yes.” With Blizzard offering local teams with no relegation and revenue sharing, however, especially when NRG has a decent Overwatch roster already, and with the team’s owners’ background in the NBA, is it any wonder that they decided to pull out of League of Legends? Once again, this is just speculation, but it seems very likely that NRG Esports will now dedicate all of its resources and manpower towards their Overwatch org, which might get to participate in a League, which offers them everything they are used to in the NBA.
A team belonging to non-endemic owners is different from Team SoloMid, for example, an org who has an owner who has emotional ties to one game over others. It’s hard to imagine TSM abandoning League of Legends, after all, the team is owned by a dude who got his career started playing that game professionally. NRG, however, has no such sentimental ties. With Blizzard Entertainment seemingly offering them what they want as people coming from the NBA, it’s no wonder that they’re abandoning the League of Legends ship and going to Overwatch. That’s obviously provided that our speculation turns out to be true. It DOES make sense.