FLASHPOINT is dead, shocking no one
The latest article from The Jacob Wolf Report details how the former FACEIT-backed FLASHPOINT venture is effectively dead. The news is fairly unsurprising as FLASHPOINT 3 happened more than a year ago and the Twitter account has been dormant since August and the website is abandoned. Likewise, the writing had been on the wall for some time as the COVID-19 pandemic shattered the tournament organizer's plan to build a sustainable content-heavy league that could compete with ESL and BLAST.
After the first edition of FLASHPOINT was interrupted by the COVID pandemic after just five days of play, it appeared that the world of CS:GO esports was going to have to dramatically change in order to survive. Nine months later, FLASHPOINT 2 tried once again to host an event in an online era world with all staff in quarantine. The result was not favorable, as they were forced to delay matches after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19 over the course of the event.
The entire league struggled to continue with its lofty goals set out before the pandemic. It was a competition that even brought on a former WWE writer to help develop the personalities of players. The level of character creation, development, and exposure was impossible to do when everything was online. It was well known that FLASHPOINT did not have the same start-power as rival ESL in their franchised league, so they banked on the spectacle of the in-person content to compensate and attract viewers.
Two tumultuous years later, there are only two founding teams left in CS:GO after Dignitas recently announced its departure from the game; Cloud9 and MIBR. Cloud9 and MIBR have not exactly had roster consistency in these two years since becoming FLASHPOINT members with both organizations rotating through entire rosters since March 2020, Cloud9 especially so. Each of the founding eight teams, c0ntact, Cloud9, Dignitas, Envy, FunPlus Phoenix, Gen.G, MAD Lions, and MIBR all contributed $2M upfront with the expectation that the ownership group would break even by the end of the second season of FLASHPOINT.
The league, according to Jacob Wolf, is not yet technically defunct, but it has only two remaining board members and all remaining staff has been laid off. The board members remaining are representatives from Immortals and Dignitas, however with Dignitas recently withdrawing from CS:GO that could have changed. Former FLASHPOINT commissioner Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles was laid off in January, allegedly. Many noted that the former commissioner had appeared to change his Twitter bio, however, there was never a public statement released by him on Twitter, nor by anyone from FLASHPOINT.
Since the third edition of FLASHPOINT, a European-based RMR event, the league has generated almost no revenue. Pinnacle and Unikrn were the only two sponsors across the three CS:GO and single VALORANT events held by FLASHPOINT in 2020 and 2021. Unikrn, of note, was ordered to pay a $6.1M fine after the SEC charged that the initial coin offering was unregistered and misled investors. The fine represented nearly all of Unikrn's holdings, according to the SEC news release.
As Wolf continues, the picture of FLASHPOINT was much more downtrodden than it appeared in the public. Wolf stated that "Many of the Flashpoint teams were checked out long before it shuttered in January 2022" and the main teams that were not actively participating in the league were namely c0ntact, FPX, and MAD Lions.
The remaining teams operated the board with some sort of dysfunction with Cloud9 President Dan Fiden, Gen.G co-founder Kent Wakeford. and Envy investor Randy Chappel leaving the board and rejoining it at various points through 2020 and 2021. The board also fired behind-the-scenes CEO Michael Lipman, a former European soccer staffer whom it hired using an outside recruiter, in late 2020.
The organization has since dwindled due to the lack of a final decision maker, lack of staffing, and almost no certain future. Time will tell if this is the true death blow to the organization that looked to rival that of ESL's Pro League, but it is not looking good.