Envy Gaming, a well-known name in the esports space, is retiring its branding but the competitive action will continue on.
After merging with fellow esports franchise OpTic Gaming just over six months ago, the Dallas-based organization is taking on the OpTic name, Chief Gaming Officer Mike “Hastr0” Rufail and President Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez announced in an episode of Rodriguez’s ‘The Eavesdrop’ podcast, with the leaders hinting at future opportunities.
“When we merged our companies together, we had this thought of, you know, we’re going to take both of our brands and we’re going to… continue to do the same things we’ve always done, but continue to grow them,” Rufail said in the podcast. “I also had in the back of my mind that there was potential for us to sunset Envy and just put all of our resources in OpTic. Basically, what we’re going to do is take Envy out of esports right now.”
One brand, more resources
After months of rumors, Envy merged with the esports entertainment company last November. At the time, the combined entity announced the launch of a new Call of Duty League team, saying the move would help expand its gaming and content creation operations. With the new announcement, Rufail said it will allow the company to focus on moving forward as a single brand and avoid confusion.
The move makes sense as OpTic has a larger brand reach in the industry, Rufail noted. And, while Envy brings a history of wins to the table, the more than decade-old franchise has raised at least $95 million since its launch, including from backers like local rapper Post Malone.
“The future of this thing is very bright. And focusing the resources and the want into one brand… I think that is the way forward. We look at our competitors, and we see how there isn’t any splintering in those offerings, it’s one diligently positioned and well-put brand,” Rodriguez said in the podcast. “We need to put our resources into the thing that’s going to help us grow the fastest—that’s OpTic.”
Envy teams get new names
With the new announcement, Envy’s team names and foundation will take on the OpTic branding, minus its Overwatch League team the Dallas Fuel, whose branding has become “engrained” in the community, Rufail said. The organization will continue to keep its headquarters and training facilities in Dallas’ Victory Plaza.
While much of Envy’s former roster will remain in place—albeit under a new name—the organization’s Super Smash Bros. player Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett and Magic The Gathering player Seth Mansfield both announced stepping away from Envy, Esports.net reports.
“All we’re doing now is changing the colors and the logo to everything that (OpTic has) built,” Rufail said. “I’m going to grind as hard as I can to take that same success that we had with Envy and build on all the success (Rodriguez has) had with OpTic and just continue to do what we do.”
‘Nothing but growth ahead of us’
OpTic Gaming was founded in 2006, a year before Envy got started. The latter has made a name for itself in the local scene, taking over management operations of the 100,000 square-foot Esports Stadium Arlington at the beginning of the year. Formerly based in Chicago, OpTic has ties to the region with Infinite Esports & Entertainment, a firm co-founded by Texas Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman, taking a majority stake in 2018, a year before OpTic was acquired by Immortals Gaming Club in a deal reportedly valued at more than $100 million. Rodriguez, who formerly led OpTic, purchased ownership of the franchise in 2020.
Both Rufail and Rodriguez were tight-lipped on future plans for the franchise, with the leaders hinting at “taking the brand into new territories” and “looking at areas outside of gaming entertainment,” while saying that they will let the organization’s work “speak for itself.
“This is the next global sport,” Rufail said. “We know that we’re about to take it to the next level… there’s nothing but growth ahead of us and there’s nothing but good experience for our community.”