Are org mergers a sign of things to come in the UK scene? Barrage and Dukes pool resources

UPDATE (July 31st): Dukes’ former owner Taylor Duke has sold the org/branding, meaning Dukes will still continue as a separate org under new ownership.

UK esports organisations Barrage and Dukes have merged, and the news got Dom Sacco thinking.
Mergers could be just what the UK esports scene needs right now.
We currently have hundreds of amateur orgs up and down the country battling small skirmishes against one another.
Loads of teams and orgs come and go: promising ones that form for LAN and disappear again, others which burn out or simply become unsustainable financially.
Well-planned mergers which make sense are few and far between in the UK scene right now. There are too many inwards-looking competitive org owners who care only about themselves and their teams.
While winning is obviously such a key target in esports, it’s not the be-all-and-end-all. Not to sponsors, not to partners and not always to the strength of orgs themselves, not at this level anyway.
Sponsors don’t care about LAN wins, they care about how many people see their product or service through your org.
Fans might care about winning, but some also care about how you win, how you play, having an ethos, a unique style, that je ne sais quoi.
Relevant reading: In an esports industry obsessed with winning, MnM have shown us something more
I like Arsenal and Immortals, there are many reasons why I watch and support them, I don’t watch them just to see them win every match – that would be unrealistic.
My point is, there are too many low-level UK orgs right now. Mergers done in the right way can help create fewer, better, more unique orgs. They can grow UK orgs, pool resources (both financially and staff-wise) and make slightly bigger fish in the murky UK esports pond.
Earlier this year Endpoint merged with Vatic, and while rosters have changed since then and this might not be the best example, Endpoint has still gone from strength to strength since.
Today’s announcement brings Dukes and Barrage together, two small but growing UK esports orgs.

“We believe that we will perform much stronger working as a unit instead of competing against each other in the UK scene.”
Taylor Duke, Barrage co-owner

The majority of Dukes’ players and staff move under the Barrage banner, and it seems the Dukes branding will be no more.
Taylor “Tazarini” Duke, owner of Dukes, has become Barrage co-owner, and made some interesting comments.
He said: “I set up Dukes seven months ago and it has performed far better than I could have ever imagined.
“Jeff and I however both strongly believe that we will perform much stronger working as a unit instead of competing against each other in the UK scene. The fit therefore seemed perfect, and it will allow us to pool our resources and give our players the highest possible level of support.
“Having two leaders at Barrage will hopefully also reduce the stress of being away from running the org on holiday or for any other personal reason.”
Kudos to Taylor for making these comments. He’s right and I’d like to see more orgs do this.
We’ve just seen Radix and Bulldog leave the UK League of Legends Masters behind midway through. Bulldog said earlier this year they were looking to merge with another org, maybe if they had they’d be better for it, who knows.
The thing with merging is that org owners will have to sacrifice or wave goodbye to their own brands for the greater good. And I don’t think many are mature or wise enough to be able to do that.
Further reading: Check out our interviews with Barrage and Dukes from earlier in the year

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