Sentinels abandons competitive Fortnite, leaving a former world champ teamless

A major team exits the scene.

It’s not often that you see an esports organization willingly let go of a world champion, and especially one in an immensely popular title. But that’s the reality of the esports business right now, and that’s the case with Sentinels.

The org’s CEO, Rob Moore, announced today that Sentinels is leaving competitive Fortnite entirely. He went on to note that all of the org’s Fortnite payers won’t be re-signed heading into 2023, including Nick “Aspect” McGuire, Brian “Zyfa” Wielgolaski, and most notably 2019 Fortnite World Cup solos champion Kyle Bugha Giersdorf.

Bugha won $3 million for his first-place finish at the World Cup and was the first marquee name to compete under the Sentinels brand. Now, he’s a free agent in 2023.

In Moore’s explanation of why the team is leaving behind such a notable player, the CEO said that Sentinels’ esports strategy moving forward is to “focus on games that provide the opportunity to activate for our sponsors or offer team branded in game content.” Fortnite doesn’t provide that opportunity, either in the game itself or by providing Epic-hosted LAN events where Sentinels jerseys and apparel flash team sponsors to cameras and crowds. After the World Cup in 2019, Epic hasn’t given any indication that there will be another one, with the end of 2022 marking a full three years after Bugha’s triumph.

Without a presence in Fortnite, that leaves Sentinels with teams in Halo, Apex Legends, and VALORANT. All three games have official esports tournaments run at least in partnership with their developer or publisher, and Halo and Apex have both provided content in their games that represented participating esports orgs in the past.

The move is reflective of the broader esports ecosystem at the moment. With outside investment drying up, many orgs are cutting down on esports teams and trying to focus on games that provide orgs with support and the means to monetize their presence in a given title. Fortnite, while it remains an incredibly popular title and maintains a strong player base, doesn’t provide many of those opportunities. And importantly, it might not need to since the game does perfectly fine with all of the collaborations and events it puts on.

So Sentinels is out. And the way things are going, it might not be the only org to get out of Fortnite in the near future. On the other hand, if any organization is looking for some big-name Fortnite players to make a splash in the scene, there’s at least one great option right now.

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