If you are dreaming of having your own organization or team, the places on traditional sports are mostly taken by now. However, esports gave the chance of having your own team to the kids of our time: from Nadeshot to ocelote, they were able to pursue their dream and create an organization in line with their vision and turn into a successful business.
Although most esports teams have roots to five players gathering together and creating some value out of their team, these four orgs were founded by players and became what they are today under their leadership and rule. I am sure that you already know these teams, but if you don’t have an idea about who runs them or want to find out more, this is the place for you.
100 Thieves was founded by ex Call of Duty player Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag in 2017. Since then, with Nadeshot as their CEO, 100 Thieves has turned into something that is much more than just an esports team. Fielding teams in franchises like Apex Legends, Call of Duty, League of Legends and VALORANT, 100 Thieves has been successful on that front too, but their best success is creating a sustainable business model.
I am talking about how the management of 100 Thieves turned the organization into a lifestyle brand. Today, you can find 100 Thieves branded merchandise worn by anyone, not just esports fans. It is very hard for esports teams to succeed without sponsors, but 100 Thieves are one of the few teams that actually create something other than fielding a five man roster. They made their brand a real one, just like those in traditional sports like football, basketball or baseball.
The team was initially supported by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and famous names like Drake, Scooter Braun and entrepreneurs like Marc Benioff invested in the team. Nadeshot proved that his expertise is not only just creating a competitive esports team as throughout their journey in League of Legends for example, 100 only moved forward and won the LCS in the end last year. He has also managed to make 100 Thieves profitable, and that was an excellent achievement.
Especially because of their success in League of Legends, TSM, or formerly Team SoloMid, has been one of the most widely known esports organizations. TSM was founded by former professional League of Legends player Reginald, who founded the team and played in it for a time. He then replaced himself with Bjergsen when he decided he was not the one to take this team further, and that wasn’t his first good decision.
Starting a legacy in North America, TSM gained popularity all around the globe and they have one of the biggest fanbases in esports. Today, the team has teams in different games like Rainbow Six Siege or VALORANT and they have tasted success, but still, LoL is their most important branch. TSM also has a chess “branch”, as they have one of the most famous chess players, Hikaru Nakamura, in their organization.
Under Reginald’s CEO run, TSM recently signed one of the biggest sponsorships in esports history with cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX. After this ten year long $210,000,000 deal, TSM’s new name became TSM FTX. Although they have been successful in both competitions and money-wise, Reginald might get in trouble these next few days as Doublelift’s claims of abuse are being investigated by Riot Games.
G2 Esports might just be considered as the most successful esports team in the West, if you consider that esports teams are also businesses. They have been as successful as 100 Thieves, but unlike them, G2 managed to keep esports ahead of merchs. They do sell them, but they advertise their success in esports and investments more.
And who is running G2 Esports? ocelote, who managed to become an internet sensation himself. Known as a funny figure while he was a player, ocelote decided to take the role of CEO and put a skilled young player in his place just like Reginald in 2015. Using Perkz’s skills to qualify for EU LCS, Gamers2 rebranded as G2 Esports and they have become the most successful team in Europe ever since, taking Fnatic’s place as the ruler.
Carlos started investing in other franchises as well, making G2 a competitor for the top place among different games. You can count VALORANT, CS:GO, Rocket League and more games that G2 aims for being the best at, and that is what they do everywhere. ocelote cares about getting big sponsorships like Ralph Lauren, creating great merchandise with players and marketing them. But ocelote’s main achievement is he also invests in great rosters, something 100 Thieves struggled with for some time.
Counter Logic Gaming is one of the oldest names in League of Legends, founded by HotshotGG in 2010. He was also playing for CLG as a professional League of Legends player at the start of his career, retiring in 2013 and taking the role of president.
Although CLG is being run by a lot of people and Madison Square Garden Company acquiring a controlling stake, HotshotGG gave a lot to the team as a president. CLG has teams in LoL, Fortnite, Apex Legends, CS:GO and more. From five players creating a team to participate in LCS, CLG became a brand. Although they didn’t get many trophies for the last few years, Counter Logic Gaming is still a respected and widely known name.
These were our picks of esports teams that prospered under the management of former esports players. If you look at smaller regions like Brazil or Turkey, you can find even more examples of teams that are successful locally. However, teams founded in the United States and Europe get more funding and exposure, providing them an easier path to success.
If you are a fan of these teams and interested in their journey, watch their games and place your bets on Luckbox.