OverActive Media CEO on securing KOI's VCT spot

OverActive Media CEO on securing KOI's VCT spot
Image via Riot Games | OverActive Media

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch

Published 

16th Feb 2024 16:15

OverActive Media CEO Adam Adamou shared his position as to why his organisation was allowed to enter the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) in the EMEA region with the purchase of KOI while Evil Geniuses had been denied the transfer of its slot ownership to FlyQuest, revealing more information in the way the partnership agreements in VCT work.

VCT as a partnership league

With the era of franchised esports leagues with low seven-digit dollar entry fees coming to an end, Riot Games' VALORANT Champions Tour had instead turned to a partnership system without the upfront cost, fundamentally changing the nature of the agreement.

Instead of full ownership of a slot with some caveats, partnership teams would be under constant obligation to uphold terms as outlined by the team participation agreement (TPA). In turn, they would be allowed to participate at the highest level of VALORANT esports while also receiving a stipend from Riot for their participation.

In order to be approved for one of the ten partnership slots in each separate region, teams had to go through a vetting process, being evaluated on several factors such as longevity, sustainability, and their ability to engage a fanbase as a blog post at the time of the announcement of the partner teams revealed. 

"When they selected their partners, they went through a very detailed process to choose them. They want to be partners with that organisation for a reason," OverActive Media CEO Adam Adamou explained. 

His Canadian sports, media, and entertainment company is spread wide in esports, fielding teams such as the Toronto Ultra in the Call of Duty League and MAD Lions in the LEC. In late January, OAM also acquired two more brands, purchasing the Spanish organisations KOI around esports influencer Ibai Llanos and retired footballer Gerard Piqué as well as Movistar Riders.

KOI had initiated its decoupling process from former ownership group Infinite Reality in November 2023 but had been key in securing the partnership slot in VCT EMEA. Leaving the LEC for Infinite Reality to revive its brand Rogue, KOI kept its partnership agreement for VCT.

The difference between EG's transfer attempt and KOI’s

Earlier this month, a report by Sheep Esports revealed that VCT Americas partner Evil Geniuses had tried to sell its slot, and after extensive negotiations with various esports organisations, landed on FlyQuest to purchase it.

Seeking approval by Riot Games, the publisher swatted the attempt down, with Global Head of VALORANT Esports Leo Faria sharing on the podcast Platchat that there were fundamental differences between the TPA's in their franchised leagues in LoL and their partnership in VCT with teams not being the owner of their slot and would therefore not be able to commercialise it. 

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On February 13, OverActive Media announced its entry into the VCT EMEA with KOI, renaming the team to MAD Lions KOI for the time being. While on the surface the decision appeared incongruent with the decision made against EG, Adamou Adamou explained it was indeed "in accordance with the way Riot see their license."

"They can’t prevent you from being acquired if someone wants to buy your company but even if you’re acquired, the license may be transferred if they approve it but you have to buy the whole company;" the CEO shared, elaborating that even in the case of an outright purchase of the partner, Riot Games still reserves the right to approve the new organisation.

"Everything that is KOI is now part of us, including their main influencers, their main people, some of their employees. Everything that is KOI that they approved into VALORANT is now part of us. I think that is a big reason why they approved it," Adamou said.

Under new ownership and with the three new players Grzegorz "GRUBINHO" Ryczko, Kamil "kamo" Frąckowiak, and Tobias "ShadoW" Flodström, KOI will participate in the VCT EMEA Kickoff event starting on February the 20th in Berlin with their first match on the following day at 5 pm CET / 4 pm BST / 1 pm EST. 

Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch is a Senior Esports Journalist at GGRecon. He's been creating content in esports for over 10 years, starting with Warcraft 3.

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