MIBR sells BLAST Premier member slot; ran risk of losing it for performance
Earlier this morning, Copenhagen-based tournament organization BLAST announced that Immortals Gaming Club had sold its BLAST Premier member slot to Heroic, a Norwegian-based organization. The bidding process for the slot was described as "highly competitive" in an announcement released this morning. The announcement also noted that after IGC decided to sell the slot, "there were a number of leading esports and Counter-Strike organizations showing an interest in the sale". This marks the first time that the public has seen a "franchise" slot transferred from one organization to another from the three major franchised leagues; FLASHPOINT, BLAST, and ESL Pro Tour.
While this is the first time the spot has been transferred from one organization to another, this is not the first time that BLAST has orchestrated a bidding process. The former 100 Thieves slot, which was essentially forfeited by the organization after its withdrawal from competitive Counter-Strike in late 2020, was previously acquired by BIG. In an interview with Dexerto, BIG CEO Daniel Finkler revealed that there were multiple applicants for the spot with a rigid vetting process for each organization. Dexerto sources revealed that BIG paid over 1 million USD for the slot.
To explain the decision to sell the MIBR spot, head coach Renato "nak" Nakano took to twitter and revealed that the team actually "ran the risk of losing this spot for performance" reasons as they "were there for a long time and didn't have significant results". It is not unusual for a member organization to be threatened with expulsion for poor event performance. ESL included such a stipulation in its Louvre Agreement that should any organization finish last in their respective EPL group for three out of four seasons, their position will be subject to review. Dust2.us reached out to BLAST and nak for further clarification if BLAST does have such a rule, but have not heard back by the time of publication.
As nak continued his thread, he stated that the sale of the slot would provide "more resources to maintain the structure [they] have" at MIBR. This statement caused some concern among fans as it alluded to a limited cashflow budget for the Brazilian squad. Dust2.us contacted Immortals Managing Director Tomi Guardia to ask if there was a cashflow concern with Immortals that selling the spot would then continue to fund the company's CS:GO division, but have not heard back at the time of publication.
Heroic, which was acquired by Omaken Sports in early 2021, is also set to become partnered in ESL's circuit in the second half of 2022 as part of the Louvre Agreement alongside the already-integrated Brazil-based FURIA organization. Joachim Haraldsen, CEO of Heroic stated:
Today marks a massive milestone for Heroic Group. Our entry into BLAST Premier provides us with a unique position alongside the biggest brands in our industry, and a platform for collaborative growth that we strongly believe in. We are really impressed by the product that BLAST has built so far and are super excited to contribute to the continued success of the tournament as one of the 12 members.
BLAST's partnered organizations now are:
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