The London Spitfire officially released their entire Overwatch League roster and staff on Thursday.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must announce that we must bid farewell to our players,” the Spitfire tweeted. “We have offered free agency to most of our players to ensure that they can find a new team to thrive in with the least amount of resistance.”
The Esports Observer initially reported last month that the organization was prepared to make the moves as part of a pivot in organizational strategy. The team reportedly released some players and staff in late September while negotiating with the remaining personnel.
The Cloud9-owned team won the inaugural Overwatch League title in 2018 but underwent a roster overhaul after an early exit from the Season 2 playoffs. Support player Younghoon “Krillin” Jung was the only player retained, and he was joined by 11 newcomers as part of a young roster.
The all-Korean team was assembled ahead of the planned moved to regional homestands for Season 3. However, the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to those plans, and several OWL teams struggled with communication and travel issues related to their international rosters.
Among them were the Vancouver Titans, who released their entire Korean roster midseason and debuted a largely North American team in May.
London finished 17th in the Season 3 regular-season standings with a 6-15 record and minus-24 map differential. Playing as the seventh seed in the Asia Bracket, the Spitfire were eliminated with a 3-1 loss to the Chengdu Hunters in the opening match of the playoffs that were eventually won by the San Francisco Shock.
The Spitfire now are undergoing their second complete roster overhaul in as many years. They are moving to a roster model that cultivates new talent from teams such as the British Hurricane, the Spitfire’s academy team, along with Western European players, according to TEO.
With no stated plans from the OWL about future live homestands, the Spitfire’s new model is intended to focus on players with more connection to the geographical fan base while also saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in player salaries.
–Field Level Media