The North Is Here, but for how much longer?

Phillip Rasmussen
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Source: Dreamhack. From Dreamhack Masters in Seville, December 2019.

It isn't easy being a North fan these days, and here at TLDR we know that better than anyone, because aizyesque keeps telling us how he feels. Sadly though, it doesn't look like that's about to change for the better.

As Covid-19 hit, and almost all esports operations slotted seamlessly into an online setting, the surrounding physical world ground to a complete halt. Now for a lot of esports orgs that is not really an issue. They are funded by venture capital, have wealthy investors that are in it for the long run or are able to generate enough revenue online to get through this situation.

North? Well their owners are two entertainment companies, deeply rooted in running a football club, waterparks, cinemas and movie studios. All things that are unlikely to get back to generating their usual revenue in the short term.

Three and a half year into their existence, North is further than ever from achieving the goals they set out in their inaugural press release. The situation looks grim, and there is more:

  • Parken Sport and Entertainment, 50% owner of North, posted their worst ever Q1 results, with Q2 likely to hit even harder.
  • PS&E has hired a new CEO, and named him Chairman of the Board for ES North A/S. How will his perception of the operation, shape the coming months?
  • An operation that went almost €3M in the red the first two year of existence and likely negative results again for 2019 (yearly results have not been posted yet).

When reached for a comment by TLDR, North's CEO, Christopher Håkonsson, said:

"The fact that some of our owners' businesses are short-term impacted by COVID-19 does not create a trickle-down effect on North.

We, as North (and all other esport organizations) are, however, operating responsibly, and we are impacted in the sense that creating partnerships is tough in a time of a pandemic. And that has an impact on how we operate our commercial arm and forcing us to think differently.

North is fortunate to be owned by successful companies that believe in gaming and esports as important markets - also in the future."

To pile on the misery, North's best player, Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye, has stepped down from the active lineup due to symptoms that sound stress-related. Meanwhile, Astralis Group CEO, Nikolaj Nyholm has been dropping a series of not so subtle comments, saying he wants him back. That's the most Football Manager move we've ever seen.

Oh and Kjaerbye's replacement in North? An 18 year old on loan for a month. Probably not the signing aizyesque, or any other North-fan, had hoped for.

May 18, 2020

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