ECS: Owning multiple teams is not outright banned

The Esports Championship Series director gave a bizarre response regarding multiple-team ownership and any potential investigation ECS conducted regarding Renegades’ attempted purchase of Bee’s Money Crew.

Speaking to Slingshot after ECS’ Season 3 introductory press conference Tuesday, ECS director Kurt Pakendorf did not confirm that any investigation of Renegades occurred but said that if one did, ECS did not find any wrongdoing. He also mentioned that multi-team ownership is not explicitly banned in ECS but that such a case would require the league’s consent.

“Renegades is playing in the league,” Pakendorf said. “They were promoted. They’re in ECS, and so are Bee’s Money Crew…We made a ruling, and all parties were entitled to appeal the ruling within a given period of time to an outside independent body, which is not controlled by us and by whose judgement we would be bound. The deadline came and went, and they didn’t exercise any of those rights. The decision we made stood.

“To be clear, I’m not even going to go into the extent to confirm the nature of what the investigation was, simply because we were asked and gave an undertaking as not to do that. If something between Renegades and Bees Money Crew was investigated, we made a decision the affected parties could appeal. The time came and went, they didn’t appeal, and they moved on.”

Slingshot reported March 22 that Renegades attempted to purchase Bee’s Money Crew while the teams competed in the ECS Development League with each other. Renegades and Bee’s Money Crew finished first and second in the ECS Development League, and both qualified for the main ECS league, which begins April 14.

When reached for comment March 22, 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.

When asked if one entity owning multiple teams was even against the rules in ECS, Pakendorf said it’s not encouraged but not explicitly banned, either, in another mystifying response. He added that any entity — including sponsors — intending to own shares in one or multiple teams needs ECS’ approval.

“For more than a year we have a very fixed rule, not a phased in rule, that any ownership or any activity which threatens the integrity of the league is prohibited,” he said. “Teams that either own multiple teams or shares in other teams, or folks looking to buy a team that’s already in the league need our consent to do that. Equally, major sponsors or, for example, FaceIt, the holding company of ECS (also must follow those rules). Let’s even take it further: YouTube or Twitch, if they were to own a team, it would require our consent to do that.

“There’s a distinction there. The rule doesn’t say you can’t do it. The rule requires that for integrity purposes, the league need to be satisfied there’s sufficient distance and arm’s length in the transaction to avoid the integrity of the league being called into question. They require our consent to do that. Are we in favor of multiple team ownership? No, we are not. Do the rules outright ban it? No they don’t. What they do, however, is they require our consent. And so far, we’ve enforced that rule.”

The concept of one entity owning multiple teams has been in the public Counter-Strike eye lately. The World Esports Association recently announced 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 request for comment.

Jarek Lewis contributed to this report

Slingshot Editor-In-Chief. Former newspaper reporter from Cleveland, Ohio, who appreciates clean copy and good Counter-Strike.

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