IPL is For Sale – What Now?
The news broke earlier today that IGN’s new owner Ziff Davis was axing several of the companies formally under the IGN umbrella. (Polygon, Kotaku) A lot of good people lost their jobs today, and we wish them the best of luck in finding new homes. Most importantly for those us who follow eSports was the news that while Ziff Davis has not killed IPL in the same manner- they are trying to sell it. There are several possible outcomes to this unfortunate event.
Best-case: IPL gets a great new owner. Possibly one of the larger organisations already involved in eSports or even a very large company that is looking for a new way to advertise to a key demographic. IPL5’s viewing figures and the growth it saw since IPL4 clearly show the speed the industry is expanding and the reach that IPL have. With Qualcomm moving into eSports just this month- another mega-corp coming in from outside the scene is not out of the question. In this eventuality not much would change within IPL. There may be a little fat trimming here and there, but on the whole it would remain functioning and mostly intact.
Worst-case: No buyer can be found. In this case, at some point in the not too distant future, IPL would be dissolved. This does not seem very likely, any price is better than no price and since IPL has so much potential; someone will most likely pick it up, even if it is on the cheap. Nevertheless, this is the biggest fear and the worst outcome.
The foggy middle-ground: This is the hardest area to predict. In this outcome IPL does find a buyer, but maybe not one with the vision or finances to keep the good-ship IPL afloat in its current state. This would likely lead to lay-offs and the possibility of the less profitable games being cut. What changes could or would be made with this type of buyer are too varied to list. The status quo would not be maintained however, which would be the key aspect.
What does this mean for the future?
At the time of publication no official word has been released about the future of IPL or that of IPL6- which is set to occur at the end of March. It seems unlikely that IPL6 will not go ahead, as it would involve breaking numerous contracts including major ones like with The Cosmopolitan. Further, as Ziff Davis are trying to sell IPL, it would make little sense to lower the value of the company via cancelling a major event and causing negative press to bloom like sulky black roses throughout the eSports scene.
Nobody seems to have any actual information yet, and if they do they are not releasing it. What does matter though is that if IPL6 does go ahead, we give it our full support. Turn off the adblockers, give it as much attention as possible and as much word of mouth. IPL might be under negotiation for sale at the time or possibly be sold already- IPL6 will then become what decides its future under the new owner. It would be first truly major blow to eSports in quite some time if we lost IPL. No one wants to see the bearded man cry.
- Jaszon ‘Lightblind’ Alexzander @Ravus