Na’Vi and ESforce Holding end partnership, but does it mean anything?

ESforce Holding and esports organisation Natus Vincere (“Na’Vi”) have announced their partnership will end following the contract’s experiation in November 2017. As a result, the media and advertising sales rights regarding Natus Vincere will revert to Zero Gravity Group which is headed up by Alexander Kokhanovskyy. 

The move will see one of three organisations currently operated by ESforce drop out, with Virtus.pro and SK Gaming still under the CIS based company’s remit. It comes as there’s an increased push to ensure no conflicts of interest in team ownership. WESA has a set of “Multi-Team Ownership Regulations” that has seen RFRSH and ESforce come under scrutiny of late. Back in June RFRSH agreed to comply with the rules in place and thus must act to ensure they are not in breach of regulations. However, they were given a broad 36 month period in which to comply. 

Alexander Kokhanovskyy is the CEO of DreamTeam, a new project designed to be an “esports and gaming recruitment and management network”. Interestingly, however, Kokhanovskyy remains a co-owner of ESforce Holding although he no longer operates as the Chief Commercial Officer. With the contract ending with ESforce and moving to Kokhanovskyy’s group, the community is likely to still remain sceptical as ultimately the company now in charge is headed up by a man who still has co-ownership of ESforce Holdings. 

The release states that “ESforce Holding has decided to focus on its own projects, while Na’Vi’s management opted to continue development on its own”. 

Anton Cherepennikov, founder and co-owner, ESforce Holding said in a release: ”We are pleased with the cooperation we’ve had with Natus Vincere; over its course, we have been able to achieve a lot together. Upon our mutual agreement, a decision was made to not extend our partnership; the holding decided to focus on pursuing its own projects.”

Alexander Kokhanovskyy, Zero Gravity Group commented: “Working with ESforce Holding has been a major step in Natus Vincere’s development. We are now entering a new stage in our club’s history, in which I see greater opportunities for monetizing Na’Vi’s assets using our own resources.”

Yevhen Zolotarov, CEO, Natus Vincere stated: ”We are convinced that independent development will have a positive impact on Na’Vi’s identification in the future. In the coming year, we will focus on improving our infrastructure for serving teams, and work on the quality and frequency of the content we release as well as its monetization; furthermore, we will work on attracting new long-term sponsorship contracts, both for Na’Vi as a whole and individual contracts for the club’s players.”

Esports Insider says:  Multiple team ownership of course springs integrity issues as there’s potential risk of collusion or throwing. Just recently, Natus Vincere faced Virtus.pro in a decider match for a Dota Major and situations like that are best avoided so to protect the industry. As the industry matures, we expect rules and regulations to become tighter and these teams to move away from each other.