The finals days of Yahoo Esports are upon us, as the company's head of esports media, Travis Gafford, announced that Yahoo would be shutting down its esports department on June 16th.
To an outside observer the announcement might seem sudden and without cause, but in truth, the move isn't terribly surprising. Verizon finalized a deal that granted it ownership of Yahoo just a few short days ago, and reorganizations are typical in such situations. AOL, which is also owned by Verizon (and, more surprisingly, still exists at all), will merge with Yahoo and form a new media company that has been dubbed "Oath". Oath will also control some other notable parts of Yahoo's former portfolio, such as Tumblr, a popular blogging site, The Huffington Post, a popular news aggregator, and TechCrunch, a news and review site that specializes in high-tech gadgets.
The shuttering of Yahoo Esports is occuring in order to allow the rest of the Yahoo Sports organization to focus on "aligning with the new company strategy," according to Gafford in his statement.
The loss of Yahoo Esports will be keenly felt all throughout the esports world, as their interview content was peerless in the space. While the department apparently wasn't successful at generating revenue, it's hard to make an argument that they weren't effective at spreading the brand all throughout the esports world. The level of access that personalities like Travis Gafford and Emily Rand managed to obtain is simply without compare in the world of esports reporting.
In his parting statement, Gafford had no ill words for either his former employers, nor for the community that he's served over the last few years. Quite the opposite, in fact.
"Additionally, I want to thank the esports community," Gaffod said. "As is often the case, there was a great deal of skepticism when a large company entered the esports space. You challenged us to create authentic videos and articles from familiar faces and names. With the help of teams, players, leagues, and publishers we strived to provide you engaging, entertaining, and informative content. In turn, you embraced us across Smash, CS:GO, League, FGC, and many more communities. Your passion and support drove us."