Yahoo Esports closed its doors on June 16th, meaning the esports industry has lost one of its biggest outlets for coverage and media.
While the esports brand was huge with followers of esports, when Verizon purchased Yahoo in its efforts to build a new brand from Yahoo and AOL, their plans for developing the Yahoo Sports brand did not include continuing with the esports sector – at least not in the form we are used to.
Yahoo Esports will be missed
Yahoo Esports had been around for less than 18 months when it closed, having been created in February 2016 in response to the growth in interest in professional gaming. Its coverage of established esports titles like Dota 2 and League of Legends was among the best in the industry, with its multimedia approach and round the clock updates, and it was also one of the only sites to introduce coverage of other games like Super Smash Bros.
Along with ESPN, Yahoo had one of the biggest brands in the industry and was important to many pro gamers in launching their careers and establishing their fanbases. It is already leaving behind a gap for both players and fans.
Will a new brand replace Yahoo Esports?
Of course, no gap in the market is left unplugged for long in modern media, and while there may be no current plans for the new Oath brand, which will be the result of merging Yahoo and AOL, to build up its own esports hub, it is certainly too early to rule it out.
Others may try and emerge in the sector too, though it remains to be seen whether they will be existing sports coverage brands, or gaming brands.
What does the death of Yahoo Esports mean for players?
Professional gamers will still, of course, carry on as normal, however they may have to diversify who they push for coverage as one of the biggest media centres for esports has gone.
Professional gamers can diversify, however, and it is possible for them to move into other sectors where their skills can pay off, such as professional poker or even stocks or forex trading. Pro gamers are also used to having to do a lot of their own publicity and create their own media brands and channels, and so it will be interesting to see how players or content creators will shape what follows Yahoo Esports.
Is this a bad move by Verizon?
Obviously, as far as players and fans are concerned in general, losing Yahoo’s commentary and coverage is a bad thing, but whether it is a bad decision in business terms will remain to be seen.
It is possible that the strategies for the new Yahoo Sports brand under Oath did not produce a good fit for less traditional sports, and they simply didn’t know quite where to position an esports division.
Only time will tell how much of an effect this closure will have on professional gaming as an industry, and what kinds of coverage we will see emerging in the future.
The team behind Yahoo Esports seem to be among the staff displaced as a result of the Verizon takeover, so it could even be they do something new on their own, or move together into a different media brand to recreate a similar esports site.
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Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.