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ESL layoffs hit North American office; ESL confirms 5 percent of global workforce will leave the company

One week after ESL layoffs hit the company's main office, 15-20 more employees were let go from the company's North American office.
ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals took place in Dallas, Texas. The ESL laid off 15-20 people Wednesday from its North American office, Slingshot has learned. Photo by Helena Kristiansson/ESL.

One week after a large chunk of layoffs hit the ESL’s main office in Cologne, Germany, a similar exodus has taken place in the organization’s North American branch, according to multiple sources.

About 15-20 employees of various positions were terminated today, effective immediately with severance pay, according to sources.

The positions involved include but are not limited to: production manager, league operations, AV engineer, graphics, associate producer, lighting/camera, warehouse, hospitality, editor and project manager. It is unclear if ESL will contract production work in the future or how the company plans to account for the loss of these employees.

Slingshot reported last week the ESL had laid off at least 20 people, many of them in the TV and production side of the company. The layoffs came after a meeting with ESL CEO Ralf Reichert and a subsequent email to those laid off, though those layoffs would not take effect until the end of September.

ESL, one of the largest tournament organizers in esports, is currently operating ESL One Cologne in Germany. The company has been around since 2000 and in 2015, a majority stake was purchased by MTG for a reported $87 million. ESL’s most recent event in America was the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals, which took place June 3-4 in Dallas, Texas.

When reached for comment, ESL confirmed the layoffs, but a spokesperson said positions will be re-added in the company’s areas of expansion.

“ESL is realigning resources and expanding its organization to drive innovation in the esports market, including creating opportunities in original programming, strengthening in-game capabilities, and expanding our brand globally. As part of that process, 5 percent of the global workforce, largely from our event operations and executive TV production, will be leaving the company. At the same time, the same number of positions will be created in these areas of expansion. This reflects an adjustment of our internal organization and is a step towards preparing ESL for additional growth opportunities.”

It’s worth noting that when reached for comment last week, ESL gave almost an identical statement but just said “some people” would leave the company instead of the 5 percent figure given Wednesday. The previous statement is below:

“ESL is realigning resources and expanding its organization to drive innovation in the esports market, including creating opportunities in original programming, strengthening our in-game capabilities, and expanding our brand globally. As part of that process, some people will be leaving the company. This reflects an adjustment of our internal organization and is a step towards preparing ESL for the future ahead, and will not affect the quality of productions such as ESL One Cologne.”

Cover photo by Helena Kristiansson/ESL, eslgaming.com

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