WESA moves to clamp down on multi-team ownership in esports

The World Esports Association (WESA) has introduced a ban on multi-team ownership as part of a number of regulations introduced to further professionalise esports.

WESA, which was founded in May by eight of the world’s most popular esports teams and ESL, the world’s largest esports company, said no team will be permitted to be completely or partially owned or controlled by a person or entity that owns or controls another esports team or organisation participating at events sanctioned by the organisation.

For any team that has a pre-existing multi-team ownership, WESA said it may grant the team up to 18 months to come to compliance. During this time period, the teams will be run independently.

“At WESA, we are committed to creating industry-wide standards in esports that benefit member teams, their players and the esports industry at large,” Ken Hershman, executive chairman and commissioner of WESA, said. “These new standards and regulations will further our goal of better professionalising esports and ensure that all of our organisations are operating on the same level playing field.”

The ESL Pro League for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the first professional esports competition played under WESA regulations. ESPN.com said RFRSH Entertainment currently holds stakes in three Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams – Astralis, Heroic, and Godsent – each of which have players who are minority owners.

RFRSH has said its business model is to operate and launch viable esports teams in the first 36 months of their startups before hiving off ownership to involved parties. “Provided an agreement can be found with the teams and orgs, during the establishment and development phase, RFRSH may take part ownership of one or more of the teams to secure that the RFRSH model is fully incorporated into the team strategy,” RFRSH said in a statement.

“We do not see a conflict in multiple team ownership under this model, as each team is and will be its own entity, however, when the teams and brands are fully established, RFRSH will no (longer) have a controlling share or ownership of the teams, brands or orgs.”