Sony and RTS, a new venture from Endeavor’s esports business, have acquired the prestigious Evo fighting game tournament through “a joint venture esports partnership.” The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed “due to contractual commitments.”
“Fighting games have been a vital part of PlayStation’s legacy and our community since the very beginning, and we’ve been thrilled to partner with Evo over the years,” Steven Roberts, VP of global competitive gaming at Sony Interactive Entertainment, said in a press release. “This joint acquisition with RTS marks a new chapter of collaboration with Evo’s co-founders, Tom and Tony Cannon, and their passionate community of fighting game fans.”
Tom and Tony Cannon also shared a message to the Evo community regarding the acquisition. “The new partnership is committed to bringing amazing tournaments and competitive gaming experiences back to you this year and beyond,” they said.
The organizations also announced that Evo will be back this year as Evo Online, a virtual fighting game competition happening from August 6th–8th and August 13th–15th. Players can compete in tournaments for Guilty Gear Strive, Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, and Tekken 7.
“Our collective team is laser-focused on one mission: preserving the authenticity of Evo for the fighting game community and finding creative ways, alongside our fans, to grow the tournament and make its events and broadcasts more fun, engaging and accessible than ever,” Sony said in its blog. “At its core, Evo will remain what it has always been: an open-format competition that gives fighting game fans from different countries a chance to connect, test their skills, and forge new friendships.” The Cannons will remain “remain closely involved in an advisory role,” according to Sony.
Sony ownership doesn’t suddenly mean you’ll be seeing all-PlayStation events, by the way — long-time fighting game community organizer and Evo bizdev guy Mark “MarkMan” Julio says the tournament will be open to all platforms, and Nintendo told game journalist Stephen Totilo that it’s still considering Evo for Smash Bros. opportunities:
Sounds like Evo will still be open to games on other platforms. As for Smash? Nintendo tells me they wish the founders well. And a rep adds: "We will continue to assess Evo, and other opportunities, as we plan for future online and offline Super Smash Bros. tournament activity.”" https://t.co/0e0jI4pdEv— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) March 18, 2021
“We want to reaffirm that harassment or abuse of any kind has no place within Evo or any of our future events, and we’re taking every precaution to make sure members of our community will always be treated with the respect, dignity and decency you deserve,” the Cannons said in their statement.
Evo will be operated by the new joint venture between Sony and RTS, the new venture from Endeavor. (Endeavor offers talent representation, event management services, and other services for sports, entertainment, and other industries.)
“Evo is a unique and iconic community unlike any other in the fighting game space, and we’re proud to be partnering with the SIE team and the legends that are Tom and Tony—as well as Mark Julio as Head of Business Development—to help grow Evo,” Stuart Saw, CEO of RTS, said in a statement.
Update, 7:42PM ET: With additional insight from MarkMan and Nintendo about Evo likely remaining a platform-agnostic video game event.