DeKay: ECS investigating attempted purchase of Bee’s Money Crew by Renegades while teams competed in same league

Renegades attempted to sign the group of Counter-Strike players known as Bee’s Money Crew as an Academy team while playing in a competitive league with them, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Renegades and BMC finished in first and second place in Season 3 of the ECS Development League, granting them qualifying matches against the two last place teams from the premier ECS league.

According to sources, discussions between Renegades and BMC management occurred as recently as last week. It is unclear whether or not the teams came to an agreement, but ECS has been notified of the attempted acquisition and is investigating it, according to multiple sources. Renegades beat Bee’s Money Crew 2-0 in a match Thursday to retain first place in the Development League.

Both teams have a chance to advance to the primary ECS league by winning their “final showdown” qualification matches. Earning a spot in ECS last season granted each organization co-ownership of the league and the option to use part of the $1.75 million prize pool and supportive funds to help players.

When reached for comment, Bee’s Money Crew owner and manager Rahul Walia said “talks with Renegades fell apart (in) late (January)” and indicated BMC would sign with another org. The ECS Development League started Feb. 28.

Owning multiple teams in a single league could be problematic if at any point both teams played each other, as it could damage the competitive integrity of the league. ECS is aware of the situation but has yet to make a decision of any kind, according to sources. It’s unclear if owning — or attempting to own — two teams would even violate any ECS Development League rules, as there are no publicly stated bylaws for the league.

The concept of one entity owning multiple teams has been in the public Counter-Strike eye lately. The World Esports Association announced last week it will outlaw multi-team ownership in all WESA-sanctioned events starting next year. That announcement came the same day RFRSH, a firm that represents Astralis, Godsent, Heroic and Norse, said that teams may own a stake in any or all four teams but that it would be temporary to make sure their “brands are fully established.”

Renegades did not respond to a request for comment. When reached via email, a PR firm that represents FaceIt, which runs ECS, said FaceIt was not able to comment in time for publication due to time zone differences with FaceIt’s office being in London.

UPDATE (8:33 p.m. ET): Following publication of this story, Renegades part owner James O’Connor tweeted that as of last weekend, he was no longer a part of the Reneagdes organization.

UPDATE (11:24 p.m. ET): An ECS spokesperson provided the following statement: “We cannot comment on any investigations that ECS may or may not be undertaking as we would have a duty of confidentiality in respect to the various parties involved, particularly those who feel aggrieved. Accordingly, we have no comment.”