Journalist Richard Lewis revealed Thursday documents that show RFRSH Entertainment owns majority shares in Astralis and Heroic — despite a previous denial from the organization.
Through a YouTube video, Lewis showed public documents filed by RFRSH in Denmark that revealed the organization, which refers to itself as a “media rights company,” holds a 50 to 66 percent stake in Astralis and a 66 to 89 percent stake in Heroic, which makes RFRSH the majority share holder for both teams.
This contradicts a statement given to Slingshot by RFRSH’s vice president of brand management and communication Steen Laursen. When Slingshot reached out for comment regarding concerns from the Danish Sports Federation about one company “that owns multiple teams,” Laursen said: “I don’t see the DIF person referring to RFRSH, as he is specifically talking about owning more teams, which we do not. The discussion about national associations defining esport as sports or not is not really relevant to us.”
The World Esports Association announced June 29 RFRSH would agree to adopt WESA’s policy against multi-team ownership (which again makes one think: If RFRSH didn’t own any of Astralis, Heroic or Godsent, wouldn’t it already be in agreeance with the WESA policy?).
Lewis’ most recent report came the same day RFRSH announced the BLAST PRO Series, a six-team, $250,000 Counter-Strike tournament. The teams participating have not yet been announced, but it would be a direct conflict of interest if either Heroic or Astralis attend.
RFRSH has been a controversial Counter-Strike figure since its launch. RFRSH patterns itself a “media rights” company that represents Astralis, Heroic and Godsent. But multiple journalists uncovered that Sunstone Technology Ventures, a company of which RFRSH CEO and founder Nikolaj Nyholm was a partner, holds a stake in Astralis. Lewis intimated RFRSH owned all the teams it represents (and even mentioned the possibility of forming a league), which RFRSH denied. They have also issued a bizarre statement in March that it didn’t own any of Astralis, Heroic or Godsent but that it would be allowed to if it saw fit.
UPDATE (12:54 P.M. ET): RFRSH founder Nikolaj Nyholm issued a statement to Dot Esports confirming its ownership of Astralis and Heroic. RFRSH is also in negotiation about acquiring ownership of Godsent, too. The headline has been updated to reflect that change.
Cover photo courtesy of Turner Sports/ELEAGUE