- Essendon purchased OPL team Abyss in 2017 and moved the club from Sydney to Melbourne.
- Essendon operated both an Oceanic Pro League and an Oceanic Challenger Series team.
- Staff and players were released and the OPL license has been purchased by Pentanet, an Australian internet service provider.
Essendon Bombers Football Club, an Australian Rules Football club with over 140 years of history, has divested its League of Legends team after two years in the Oceanic Pro League. Just days before its two year anniversary in esports, having purchased Abyss esports and its OPL license, the club released a statement that it was ending its involvement in the space.
In the statement, the club said it was reprioritizing to focus on other objectives more in line with the club’s “2021 vision.”
“Esports remained a significant growth area… but the decision to exit was made to focus on other initiatives the club felt were more compelling in the short to medium term,” the statement said.
Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell pointed to engagement with new brand partnerships and engaging a younger audience as successes of the club’s time in the OPL. The Bombers also saw some success, winning Split 1 of the 2019 OPL season.
“We are proud to have achieved domestic success in the Oceanic Pro League earlier this year and provided our esports team with the best and most professional training facilities in the country,” Campbell said in the statement.
The statement reiterated that the club wanted to restore its focus on the core business of AFL as part of the exit from esports.
Players and staff have been released, while the OPL license has been acquired by West Australian internet service provider Pentanet. The company has formed a new esports arm, Pentanet.gg, and has placed an open call for expressions of interest for players who want to join the team.
In its own statement, Pentanet stated it aims to build an organization “that connects Asia with Australia,” backed by its expertise as a telecommunications company. In Australia, Western Australia’s capital Perth is regarded as having a faster connection into South East Asian territories than the country’s more populated Eastern states.
Pentanet has an existing involvement with traditional sports, with an ongoing principal branding partnership with Perth Wildcats, a National Basketball League team.
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