After disbanding its Overwatch team, South Korean esports organization Runaway has no teams or rosters remaining.
Runaway announced the decision on Twitter. The organization explained that the team’s journey “ends today.” According to the post, Runaway’s Overwatch team started in 2016 with “passion and challenge.” Since then, the team continued to receive love and support from fans. But Runaway’s co-founder Runner noted that the organization suffered during the recent global crisis which imposed various restrictions on teams, players, and events.
The Overwatch team’s performance suffered during 2020. They also suffered from Overwatch broadcast rights being transferred to YouTube, according to a translator for Korizon Esports. The resulting reduction in streaming and restreaming opportunities made it difficult for the Overwatch team to earn money.
“We’ve considered this for a long time. For perhaps six to seven months, I’ve thought this over,” Runner said. “We have been operating Runaway for four years, since around 2017, going back to the amateur days when we’d gather around to practice online, and compete in all sorts of tournaments.”
Runaway was founded in 2016 as a team with no sponsors. They really proved themselves in the APEX League, which was similar to the current-day Korea Contenders tournament. Runaway quickly became one of the best Overwatch teams in the scene, winning numerous titles in Korea.
Despite a lot of success on the stage, Runaway was having issues behind the scenes due to a lack of sponsors. A lot of promising players also left the team to play in North America to compete in the Overwatch League, which Runaway was not a part of. When combined with the Overwatch esports scene’s decline as a whole, Runaway made the tough decision to drop its last existing esports squad.
“As you guys know, Overwatch is going through a bit of a difficult time. We didn’t get into this with money in mind. It was because I found competing in Overwatch tournaments so fun, which is why I poured a lot of my own money into it to continue doing so,” Runner said.