The purchase of the G2 Esports Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squad by Call of Duty giants FaZe Clan, seemed to be a straightforward deal. The team, populated by several fan favourites, made the move officially on the January 21, but it had been in the works for some time prior to that.
The move, however, wasn’t handled as amicably as it was presented. Breitbart sources have since revealed that the move, which was subject to a record buy-out bid for a CS:GO team, actually saw both the players and the organisation threatened with a ban from the Electronic Sports League’s flagship competition due to an overlapping business relationship with an ESL board member.
Gamers2 was created by League of Legends player Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez on Feb 24, 2014. The organisation had been involved with a few negative headlines, mostly revolving around their League of Legends team and staff. They re-branded as G2 Esports in October 2015 after having signed their CS:GO team, who were formerly with Kinguin, in September. It was said that the relationship between the CS:GO players and the owner was at an all-time low when FaZe entered into the equation.
Partnered with the G2 organisation is Jens Hilgers, a long-standing executive in the ESL hierarchy, whose company Dojo Madness has worked with G2 in various capacities. Dojo Madness created the LoL Sumo app, and despite not appearing on the G2 website as an official sponsor, G2 have engaged in several promotional appearances for the product.
It has also been stated by multiple members of G2 that Hilgers is a partial owner of G2 and has acted as a “mentor” to Rodriguez when it comes to business practices.
Sources close to the G2 organisation, who requested anonymity, confirmed to Breitbart that upon learning of FaZe’s interest in purchasing the G2 team, Jens Hilgers issued several threats that any “tampering” with the team would result in a ban from the ESL/ESEA Pro League. These threats were reportedly communicated via emails sent by G2 owner Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez and directly by Hilgers across Skype conversations.
Hilgers also spoke with several gaming organisations, asking that they offer support in any action taken against FaZe, such as refusing to participate in leagues that they were allowed to enter.
Many people raised any eyebrow as to why G2 were left out of the placements for the ESL/ESEA Pro League when they were announced on January 18. At this juncture, Breitbart understands that ESL, rather than acquiesce to Hilgers’ demands for a ban, were instead acting as independent arbitrators to help the sale go through, ensuring all parties were satisfied with the deal. When it was completed on the January 21, ESL announced that FaZe would get the “wild card” spot for the league the following day.
Hilgers’ relationships with ESL cannot be understated. A founder member of the company in 2000, he presided as CEO for ten years. In 2010 he moved to a position as chairman of the board, a role he held for five years, leaving that position when Swedish media group MTG purchased a majority share in ESL for € 78 million. Although he moved on to pursue other projects, he was still invited to sit on ESL’s Supervisory Board, doing what he describes on his LinkedIn page as assisting “in shaping vision and strategy of Turtle Entertainment and support the Executive Management in growing our business.” On the same page, he also adds that in regards to the ESL executive body he is “lucky to call many of those good friends.”
Breitbart reached out to the FaZe organisation to comment on this story but they declined to respond. We have also attempted to contact Hilgers, but he refused to comment on the story.