Berlin-based esports powerhouse G2 Esports was one of the many big-name teams denied a spot in VALORANT’s partnership program for the 2023 VALORANT Championship Tour (VCT).
But unlike the other teams denied a spot, G2 allegedly lost theirs after an incident involving its former CEO and co-founder Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez and controversial influencer Andrew Tate.
In a report by the Washington Post, G2 were about to get one of those coveted VALORANT partnership spots until Ocelote posted a video of himself partying with controversial figures Andrew and Tristan Tate.
The fact that the Ocelote even defended his actions by tweeting, "I party with whoever the f—— I want", made things worse.
Andrew Tate, who describes himself as a self-help guru for “aspiring alpha males", has previously been banned from YouTube, Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram and Twitter for misogynistic posts and videos claiming, among other things, that women are property and that victims of rape bear some responsibility for being sexually assaulted.
Tate has also received accusations and is undergoing an investigation for alleged sex trafficking and domestic abuse.
Ocelote issued an apology the next day, and G2 Esports consequently announced on 18 September stated that the executive would be suspended without pay for eight weeks, adding that "the actions of our CEO spoke a language in stark contrast with the values and the culture G2 lives by and strives for".
The organisation then announced on 23 September that it had received and accepted Ocelote’s resignation as CEO.
The Cost of Ocelote’s Actions
Ocelote’s actions ultimately cost him and the organisation he founded a spot in the VALORANT Americas League, where partners will get at least $600,000 stipends each year.
This is a big setback for G2's plans to grow in North America and become a more global gaming and entertainment brand. French reporter neLendirekt of 1PV and Sports Business Journal esports reporter Kevin Hitt have independently reported on this development.
According to reports, G2 had applied for a partnership opportunity in both the EMEA and the Americas leagues but had been turned down for both.
Apparently, Riot "did a complete u-turn" on its decision to make G2 a partner in NA.
G2 have been keen on acquiring or collaborating with North American talent since at least June.
Beginning in the summer and continuing until its partnership slot fell through, the organisation began informally contacting top coaches and players in the region to inquire about their interest in working for an American G2 team.
One of Riot’s criteria in deciding which teams to partner with states, “Organizations who share our values of always putting fans first, celebrate our diverse community, and are committed to supporting pros.”
XSET roster affected by Riot’s decision
Other teams were also affected by Riot’s decision.
G2 had conversations with Boston-based esports team XSET to acquire their roster for the 2023 VCT in case the latter didn’t make the cut.
Despite being dubbed America’s second-best VALORANT team, XSET were ultimately not chosen to be among the ten teams picked by Riot.
Zachary "zekken" Patrone tweeted about “having to explain to his mom how Andrew Tate” cost him his job.
having to explain to my mom how andrew tate cost me a job is not where i thought id be a month ago
— XSET Zekken (@zekkenVAL) September 22, 2022
“To put it simply, things seemed good to go if G2 got in,” said a source familiar with G2's outreach to XSET.
The XSET VALORANT roster are now looking for a new organisation to take them on, either entirely or partly.
In the VALORANT esports scene, teams will be able to win a two-year promotion to the international leagues, unlike Riot Games' League of Legends franchised esports ecosystem.
This does not imply that all omitted organisations will be completely removed from the VALORANT scene.
These teams must compete in the Challengers Circuit for at least a full year to gain promotion.
The 2023 VCT will kick off their new season in February next year.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.