TSM departing Brazil and Free Fire is a sign of the times ahead
TSM’s ambitious expansion plans into Brazil seem to have come to a dead end after the American esports organization has announced that it is stepping away from the region and Free Fire esports.
TSM entered Brazil back in July 2021 shortly after signing a $210 million naming rights deal with crypto exchange FTX. The region was supposed to spearhead the organization’s plans in mobile esports. They initially picked up a Wild Rift roster before expanding into Free Fire as well.
TSM leaves Free Fire and the Brazilian region
After nearly three years in Free Fire esports, the organization announced in a tweet that it is leaving the LBFF and the Brazilian competitive scene. They did hint towards making a comeback in the future, though.
“We live unforgettable moments and launch eternal talents. We were champions, we hit the beam and we heard the scream of the alvinegra fans. This isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later.”
TSM entered Brazilian Free Fire by picking up the roster of Black Dragons Esports in the LBFF Series A, which is the top level of competitive Free Fire in the region. Their first season, however, was terrible as they finished in 16th place and got relegated to the Promotion Stage.
They couldn’t fare any better in the Promotion Stage, though, and placed 11th. This made them compete in the LBFF Series B in the first had of 2022. However, the team brought in a revamped roster for the year which really paid off. They were able to make it through Series B and the Promotion Stage to make their way to the LBFF Series A again. Here, they really gave even the top teams a run for their money with a dominant performance.
It all ended finishing in third place, and narrowly missing out on a spot in the World Series (FFWS) in Bangkok. Just as the team were on an upward trajectory, TSM announced that it is exiting the game.
The Wild Rift roster was dropped earlier in November. Meanwhile, a rumored Valorant Game Changers team featuring, naxy, pan and shizue was also apparently vetoed by management recently.
TSM’s departure comes at the back of failed FTX deal and changes to the LBFF
TSM’s departure isn’t the most surprising thing. Firstly, there are issues with Free Fire esports itself. Once the most viewed mobile esport title in the world, the game has been losing viewership constantly. The FFWS Bangkok for example in November 2022, saw its peak viewers fall by more than 90 percent since its all-time high in the FFWS Singapore.
Additionally, the LBFF has also been witnessing a fall in viewership. Garena also made a big change to the league in 2023. Instead of having a relegation system which supported a grassroots-level ecosystem, the developer has decided to close the league to just 24 invited teams.
With the future of Free Fire esports not looking the brightest, it’s not surprising to see TSM re-evaluate its investments. This comes especially after the organization’s biggest sponsor, FTX, filed for bankruptcy last year.
Now, TSM only has a mobile esports team in India. They had initially signed a roster in Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI). However, with the game being banned by the govt, the roster competes in New State Mobile.