Storied Oceanic esports organization acquired by local rivals, creating ‘ANZ powerhouse’
Tides are turning in Oceanic esports following yesterday’s acquisition of prominent organization The Chiefs, merging with rivals Team Bliss. The deal sees two of the most successful brands combine to create a regional “powerhouse.”
Team Bliss announced the acquisition in a Sept. 15 tweet. The decision to merge the two came out of the blue and at a time when Oceanic esports is at its most volatile following a stalled recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both Bliss and Chiefs have been neck-and-neck since the former joined the League of Legends Circuit Oceania (LCO) at the beginning of 2023. The Chiefs took dual championship titles this year, but Bliss finished on their heels in both splits following an unprecedented League debut. Unfortunately, neither squad left a mark in the Pacific Championship Series playoffs, as both exited in straight sets.
Team Bliss’ AD carry Samil “leemas” Kip joked about the circumstances on Twitter following the announcement, saying, “If we can’t beat them, buy them,” referring to Bliss’ shortcomings in both LCO split finals. However, the head-to-head rivalry between the two is over thanks to Riot Games’ conflict of interest ruleset.
The merger has left Chiefs’ ownership group a subsidiary of Bliss’, meaning they can only field one team in future editions of the LCO. Without a tier-two tournament in the region for them to consider, players may be released as free agents, but it is still under discussion at the moment. Riot’s official Global Contractor Database shows the players’ contracts expiring this November.
Beyond the League teams, the brands will continue to operate separately without further conflict. The Chiefs’ head of brand Aiden Hiko spoke to Dot Esports on the subject, confirming announcements regarding future management personnel are coming soon, but otherwise all other operations will continue as usual.
“I would say that opportunities will only increase for both teams,” Hiko said, noting the two would collaborate on a number of “exciting” local projects in the near future.
Reflecting on his time with The Chiefs since joining the org almost a decade ago, Hiko shared his perspective on the historic change. “I’m excited to be working with an ownership group that reflects our passion and ambition for the industry,” he said. “We still have work to do—consider this under construction.”
In 2019, Bliss launched into Oceanic esports with stints in VALORANT, Rainbow Six Siege, PUBG, and Rocket League. The organization itself places a heavy focus on healthy gaming habits, partnering with Australian wellness specialists GameAware to help young gamers “find the sweet spot between habit and hobby.”
Five years prior, The Chiefs made their debut in League, even representing the region at the World Championships in 2022. They’ve also competed in titles such as Call of Duty, CS:GO, Rocket League, and Fortnite, among others.
Bliss’ chief of operations Brendan Harms praised Chiefs management in the team’s official blog post, adding that, by combining the resources of the two organizations, he hopes to “give Oceanic esports fans a powerhouse to really get behind.”
The teams’ future, at least in League, will be determined in the coming months as the joint project gears up for 2024.
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