The Esports Advocate can confirm that six employees were laid off on Tuesday at Minneapolis, Minnesota-based esports organization Version1 + Minnesota RØKKR. A spokesperson for the organization confirmed the layoffs with TEA early Wednesday morning, though which departments these employees came from and other details were not disclosed at the time of writing.
A spokesperson for the company subsequently told TEA that the company informed staff in early April that significant layoffs would occur in late-June/early July, and in fact on or around June 30, around seven people were laid off. Sources we spoke to on Wednesday morning agreed that management had been very transparent about impending layoffs and encouraged workers to start looking for opportunities elsewhere.
The spokesperson also told TEA on Wednesday morning that anyone who moved to Minnesota within the last 12 months receives $2K USD stipend for “reverse relocation expenses,” and everyone who was affected by layoffs received two weeks of severance, plus an additional two weeks of pay every year the individuals had been an employee of V1.
LinkedIn claims that Version1 + Minnesota RØKKR (formerly WISE Esports Ventures) employs around 31 employees, though that number is likely inaccurate as it doesn’t take into account players on teams and contractors, and former employees are not always studious in changing their employment status after they have moved on from an employer, particularly when they remain unemployed.
While we don’t know everyone that was affected by layoffs on Tuesday, we do know that Minnesota RØKKR Director of Content Ashley “MiDNiTE” Glassel was one of the people let go. In a social media post, Glassel wrote:
“Today I was affected by the layoffs at ROKKR / Version1. It was an incredible 4 years. I’m very thankful for the work we did from day 1 to now, very rewarding. I am currently looking for opportunities in esports and elsewhere, I am only just getting started.”
Glassel spent more than four years at the organization leading content efforts for the Call of Duty League. She joined the team from Optic Gaming, where she spent more than nine years creating content and helping to build the brand. Many fans of OpTic consider a core member of that organization.
Version1 + Minnesota RØKKR is owned by WISE Ventures, a private investment fund owned by the Wilf family (the owners of the NFL team the Minnesota Vikings and MLS teams Nashville SC and Orlando City SC) along with entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk (founder of Resy, Empathy Wines, and Vayne Media).
Version1 + Minnesota RØKKR currently has partnerships in place with Tyson Foods, USAA, Undeniably Dairy, Xfinity, SCUF Gaming, Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP), Destination Madison, Adamas, Training Haus, and Gamer.Vote.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with additional information about an earlier round of layoffs as well as additional information on severance and other financial assistance being offered by the company.