TSM’s reported esports freeze puts Counter-Strike return plans in cold storage

The return is reportedly postponed.

The future of TSM’s esports division is in jeopardy, as a March 30 report from Sports Business Journal suggests that the organization is planning to put all of its competitive gaming efforts on hold. While this could mean the end of TSM’s current endeavors, including its flagship LCS program, it could also mean the plan to return to an iconic game ends before it even begins.

The reported TSM esports freeze will likely stop the organization’s plan to return to Counter-Strike in its tracks. Back in October 2022, then president of esports Dominic Kallas announced that “TSM will be returning to CS:GO” in 2023, and included that the organization felt it could be successful with a European roster.

However, a lot has changed from that announcement leading up to yesterday’s report from the SBJ. Less than two months after that announcement, TSMs 10-year, $210 million naming rights deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX fell through when the cryptocurrency exchange filed for bankruptcy. While many esports organizations have faced financial adversity in the current economic climate, SBJ reporter Kevin Hitt noted in his report that “TSM took a big financial hit” when that deal ended prematurely.

Additionally, Dominic Kallas and the organization parted ways at the beginning of March, TSM’s COO Walter Wang also left the organization during March, and the organization parted ways with its Rainbow Six: Siege division this past February, just one year after lifting the world championship trophy at the Six Invitational.

TSM’s plans to return to CS:GO specifically are almost certainly done for, given that the CS:GO era is set to end this summer when the game is updated to Counter-Strike 2. A TSM return to Counter-Strike as a whole in 2023, however, still remains unlikely. Per the SBJ report, TSM “will continue to focus on its Blitz application” going forward.

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