Ditch Ceases Operations; Divergent Visions, Costs Torpedo Project

Ditch quietly phases out.

Ditch MediaDitch, the new livestreaming and media company that produced the All-Star Tour games and a brace of all-star games at Manila Spirits, has been defunded and ceased operations.

Jim Gerencser, founder of E.R.I.C. and owner of the AUDL’s Dallas Roughnecks, retains control of the six-figure investment in video equipment. Ditch was created as a subsidiary of Gerencser’s main company, Nationwide Auto Services.

After the Manila Spirits project, Ditch employees, led by NexGen founder Kevin Minderhout, were working to determine the direction of the organization. Their vision didn’t line up with Gerencser’s.

“What I wanted them to do, and what they wanted to do, were two different things,” said Gerencser, adding, “[Minderhout] wanted to build Ditch into something really big, and I wanted to build E.R.I.C. into something really big.”

Fundamentally, the expense of Ditch’s operations became a sticking point. The company flew out a large production crew as well as an entire roster of players to the Philippines for their Manila Spirits games.

“I don’t see the value in a quality production right now,” said Gerencser. “I was and still am spending a crap load of money and it wasn’t really doing much, to tell you the truth.”

Minderhout said he was disappointed but not surprised by Gerencser’s decision. “I never had a proposal to make money from the thing,” said Minderhout. “I was involved in the process to create an audience. Jim’s decision on that is his decision.”

“I think he just looked at the numbers a little more seriously after he spent the money and said, ‘This is not what I thought it was,'” added Minderhout.

Gerencser wanted to have Ditch get more heavily involved with his other projects, including the Roughnecks and E.R.I.C. That long seemed to be part of his plan for the venture, but Minderhout suggested that he and his team were focused on big, innovative ideas, not being a film crew.

“I didn’t want to be a production company,” said Minderhout. “I had a production company. That’s what Jim wanted us to become, but that’s not what the people in the office wanted.”

Although Gerencser has taken Ditch’s employees off of payroll, he says that contract work will still be utilized. Some Ditch employees have been working for Gerencser at Roughnecks events.

Other plans for Ditch — like the Worlds bid that was submitted — have been tabled. The organization also put in an extremely high-budget proposal to the AUDL for production, but it was declined.

“The disappointing part is that we didn’t really get to get started,” said Minderhout. “We got the foundation set, but we didn’t really get to give it a go.”

Gerencser expects to continue to use the video equipment for Roughnecks and E.R.I.C. events, but, at least for now, Ditch is no more.

“I think we were ahead of our time,” said Gerencser.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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