Ukrainian tournament organizer WePlay Esports has announced it will no longer host or broadcast Russian language events.
Tournament organizer and production company WePlay Esports has officially announced it will be ceasing all production and broadcasts of Russian-language events. The move was announced in a press release released on March 14th.
Going forward, the company has announced it will focus on the production and development of Ukrainian-language esports content, as well as continuing its hosting of English-language esports tournaments. In the release, the company stated that “our business will primarily focus on supporting an independent, unique Ukrainian culture.”
The announcement marks the end of almost a decade of Russian-language broadcasts and content from WePlay. The company’s tournaments for CS:GO and Dota 2 frequently paired extensive Russian broadcasts alongside English and Ukrainian language casts.
What’s more, this move marks perhaps the final step in WePlay’s complete removal of Russian elements from its business. On February 26th, the company terminated cooperation with all partners from the Russian Federation, expanding that to Belarus the following day. The company has been vocal of its criticism of Russia’s actions in invading Ukraine. This move is just the latest part of it.
But this isn’t a move without risk. The company is giving up a large chunk of viewers and money by abandoning Russian broadcasts. WePlay has made a moral decision that it doesn’t want to do business in Russian. Or with anyone who would support, even passively, the actions of Russia.
Alternative avenues for WePlay
But shutting down one avenue will not be enough to stop WePlay. The company has hosted a broad selection of tournaments. This has given it one of the most impressive resumes of any TO of its size. Events such as the Dota 2 Animajor in 2021 and the WePlay Ultimate Fighting League show a TO that’s willing to deliver a genuinely impressive spectacle to its audience. WePlay’s events aren’t ever just a grey stage with a grey desk and a re-used overlay.
The company is also expanding outside of Ukraine. With a Los Angeles office already established and Brazil, China, and Cyprus offices being planned, mean WePlay’s rejection of Russian broadcasts won’t be the end of things for this organization.