Leo Faria comments on reported Evil Geniuses VCT slot transfer attempt
The Global Head of VALORANT Esports, Leo Faria has commented on the reported VCT slot transfer attempt by Evil Geniuses to esports organisation FlyQuest. During a guest appearance on the VALORANT esports podcast Platchat, Faria confirmed a report on EG’s alleged efforts, roughly outlining why the deal might have been shot down.
Evil Geniuses allegedly tried to “commercialise their spot”
Over the last couple of months, Evil Geniuses had undergone a large number of layoffs, downsizing their investment into esports. Despite its victory at VALORANT Champions, the most prestigious event of the year, the org appears to also have tried to pull the plug on VALORANT, signalling an exit from esports at large.
Yesterday, a report by Sheep Esports stated that Evil Geniuses had attempted to sell its VCT Americas slot, entertaining offers by organisations like NRG, Leviatán, and 100 Thieves, with esports organisation FlyQuest becoming the favoured buyer.
“We definitely got reports that EG was trying to commercialise their slot in the league,” said Faria during the podcast, corroborating the report while sharing that “this is one of those situations where I wish I could be fully transparent and open and it’s hard to be, just because of the legality of it all.”
While Faria didn’t clarify the specifics, he gave a structural outline as to why the deal may have been shut down by his company, Riot Games, saying that his team had “made a few fundamental changes when we designed the VCT. One of them is to focus on partnership, not ownership. Teams do not own their slot, therefore it’s not theirs to commercialise.”
“We haven’t at any point encouraged EG to commericalise their spot. We haven’t approved a transaction and we expect them to comply with all of their obligations in the league this year,” Faria shared, asserting Riot’s position on the matter.
While Evil Geniuses had come under fire for several internal matters across its various teams, for VALORANT in particular, the community appeared to be fed up with EG’s handling of their successful roster, with allegations of contract jail surfacing.
Platchat host and broadcast talent Wyatt River relayed those concerns, asking what a partner team would have to do to be thrown out of the partnership system. “It comes down to a material breach of the TPA” Faria explained, elaborating that while many teams skirted the line, it didn’t rise to the level of actively breaking the rules.
Learnings from year one
During the first year of VCT, the partnership system’s Team Participation Agreement (TPA) was pressure-tested on various occasions. In one instance, the Kroenke Sports & Entertainment-owned organisation “The Guard” also tried to liquidate their esports assets, exiting various esports they had previously been involved in and letting go of a majority of its staff in the process.
The organisation had also fielded a successful roster in VCT Challengers, winning the Ascension slot and casting doubts on how ownership of it should be handled, or if indeed there would be an ascended team in VCT Americas for 2024 at all. “Our entire partnership system and the TPA were put to the test last year. It was year one and we saw a lot of gaps and things we could tighten up,” Faria summarised.
Pointing the finger at external factors of the Evil Geniuses situation, Faria called out other parts of the VALORANT scene, saying: “I think it was a big learning for players as well."
"You want to hold someone accountable? How about their agents who negotiated shady contracts without pre-stipulated maximum buyout fees? If I was any of those players, I’d be looking for a new agent now.”
VCT Americas kicks off next week on Friday 16, 11 pm CET / 10 pm BST / 5 pm EST with the Brazilian team FURIA playing against the new team of three former Evil Geniuses players, NRG.