By Jacob Wolf, ESPN
Rise Nation, the esports team co-founded by Tennessee Titans lineman Rodger Saffold, rebranded and will host a $50,000 charity Call of Duty: Warzone event on Friday with proceeds going to the Equal Justice Initiative, the organization announced.
Participants in the Rise Together charity event include Saffold, Miami Heat forward Meyers Leonard, Dallas Mavericks forward Justin Jackson, rapper Tee Grizzley, retired Call of Duty pros Tyler “TeePee” Polchow and Damon “Karma” Barlow, influencers Lucas “Blaze” Mosing and Aydan “Aydan” Conrad and others. The event will see players compete in a quads tournament produced by esports and gaming platform eFuse and will air partially on the ESPN Esports Twitch channel at 4:30 p.m. ET for a preshow, with the event starting at 5:10 p.m. ET.
“It was tough at the very beginning because Call of Duty is what we focused on for a very long time and it just wasn’t the right time to get into franchising,” Saffold told ESPN. “We feel like we have a plan and a structure to get back into that scene … We’re still available, I would say. We just want to take it to that next level.”
The team will dawn a new logo and brand identity, a first since the organization launched in 2014. Saffold and Horsley said it was incredibly important to launch a new brand with a Call of Duty event, given the roots in that game.
“It took a lot of time,” Saffold said. “We’ve really been talking about how we could get back, use an event to be able to get back, get a bunch of new eyes on the brand and get people really interested in what we had to bring for the future.”
“We thought no better way than what birthed us as an org,” Horsley said. “To get back into it with Call of Duty. It’s a rebirth of what we once were but it’s a new us.”
Saffold was among the first athletes to invest in esports. Drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2010, Saffold went on to play with the Rams as they moved to Los Angeles through their Super Bowl-qualifying season in 2017-18, when they lost to the New England Patriots. He then signed a four-year, $44 million deal with the Titans that offseason.
Here is the current talent and teams involved.
- Casters: Anthony “Nameless” Wheeler and Jordan “LEGIQN” Payton
- Team 1: Max Holloway with Tyler “TeePee” Polchow, Doug “DougisRaw” Wolf and Rise player
- Team 2: Christian Kirk with Adam “General Smitty” Smith, Muj “Fricke” Fricke, and Rise player
- Team 3: Marques Valdes-Scantling with Liam “Jukeyz”, ClutchBelk and Rise player
- Team 4: Kyle Van Noy with David “StoneMountain” Steinberg, Ian “Enable” Wyatt and Rise player
- Team 5: Rodger Saffold III with Jonna “MissesMae” Mae, Damon “Karma” Barlow and Rise player
- Team 6: Kurt Benkert with Aydan “Aydan” Conrad, Charlie “MuTeX” Saouma and Rise player
- Team 7: Tee Grizzley with Lucas “Blaze” Mosing, James “TGLTN” Giezen, and Rise player
- Team 8: Meyers Leonard with Luke “Metaphor” Canning, Garrett “Bloo” Underhill, and Rise player
- Team 9: Eric Paschall with Jordan “JKap” Kaplan, Galvanize and Rise player
- Team 10: Justin Jackson with Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov, Josiah “Slacked” Berry, and Rise player
- Team 11: Josh Hart with Vikram “Vik” Singh Barn, Warz and Rise player
- Team 12: Chase Edmonds with Rhys “Rated” Price, Thomas “Tommey” Trewren and Rise player
By Adam Fitch, Esports Insider
North American organisation Rise Nation has rebranded, changing its logo as well as its identity to, simply, Rise.
The decision was made in an effort to expand the organisation starting with a renewed identity and focus.
As part of the rebrand, Rise is looking to “expand our content, explore new team options, and solidify our platform.” To coincide with the announcement, the organisation unveiled its own Warzone tournament that will be streamed on ESPN Esports’ Twitch channel.
The organisation also announced EGL as its official apparel partner, launching a new line of merchandise with its new logo and design approach.
Rodger Saffold, CEO of Rise, spoke on the decision: “We’ve built a great team at Rise, both with players and those behind the scenes. Regardless of results, I always respect the people around me who I can tell are putting everything into their work.
“Rise’s rebrand goes beyond changing our logo, and aims to utilize everything we’ve learned over the past six years to grow our stake in the industry. With the rebrand we’re sharpening Rise’s identity and purpose while emphasizing relationships with our fans. We want to expand our content, explore new team options, and solidify our platform.”
Esports Insider says: This is a much cleaner brand as a whole, from dropping ‘Nation’ to the new logo, so it’s a good place for a fresh approach from those behind the scenes.
By Scott Duvwe, DOT ESPORTS
Rise Nation, an esports organization co-founded by NFL player Roger Saffold, is looking to get into the Call of Duty League next season, according to a report by ESPN.
Rise co-founder Kahreem Horsley said the team has had discussions about joining the league as early as next season, potentially making it the first expansion team in the CDL after its inaugural 2020 season. The team also announced a rebranding and a $50,000 Call of Duty: Warzone charity tournament today to coincide with revealing its interest in the CDL.
“We do want to move on Call of Duty, as far as the CDL goes,” Horsley said. “We’ve had talks with them, dating back to last year and as recently as a few months. We’re just getting our marbles all in the right basket so we can take aim at securing a spot for that league specifically. We’re not going to restrict ourselves to that, but that’s our first target.”
Rise began in 2014 with a CoD roster during the Call of Duty: Ghosts season. It took a while for the org to find traction in the scene, but it had its most success in 2018 in Call of Duty: WWII with a roster of SlasheR, Gunless, Loony, and TJHaLy.
Saffold was drafted into the NFL in 2010 and was one of the first major pro sports athletes to get involved in esports in 2014. He now plays for the Tennessee Titans.
“It was tough at the very beginning because Call of Duty is what we focused on for a very long time and it just wasn’t the right time to get into franchising,” Saffold said. “We feel like we have a plan and a structure to get back into that scene… We’re still available, I would say. We just want to take it to that next level.”
By Scott Duvwe, DOT ESPORTS
Rise Nation is back and the team is putting on a $50,000 charity tournament in Call of Duty: Warzone to celebrate.
Participants will include CoD stars like TeePee, Karma, and Aydan, pro athletes like Meyers Leonard and Justin Jackson from the NBA, and rapper Tee Grizzley.
All proceeds from the tournament will be going to the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization working to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality.
Here’s how to watch the tournament and when it’s expected to begin: