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Many team brands have, for good or ill, built their legacy on a single esport, but OG is one of the few to have only competed one game. Those two-letters have only ever appeared in Dota 2, but the name still cemented its place in esports history; with the same five players becoming the first repeat winners of The International—the title’s top-ranked annual tournament.
Yesterday news finally broke that OG’s colors would finally find its way into a new game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). “The organization only ventures in games we love and admire, from an esport standpoint,” the team’s co-founder Sébastien ‘Ceb’ Debs, told The Esports Observer.
“CS:GO is one of the best games out there, the scene is very competitive and it is extremely challenging to build a world-class team, therefore it took us some time to be happy with the project overall.”
The build-up to OG CS:GO’s reveal has been good sport in of itself. Not long after the name was legally registered in Denmark, several players across the CS:GO scene announced they had signed with an “unnamed team.” OG referred to itself by this moniker on Twitter up until the last possible moment, while weaving in the hype around announcements regarding new merchandise and a secondary Dota 2 team.
The team’s first scheduled competition will be cs_summit 5 in Los Angeles later this month. Each player has been drawn individually from a different team: Team Vitality, ENCE, North, HellRaisers, and ALTERNATE aTTaX. Their nationalities are as equally diverse—a rarity in Counter-Strike, where squads form locally and tend to play speaking their native language.
“We do not see a valid reason for ‘one-nation’ teams to be the only viable model,” said Debs. “Players all have fluent English, and with proper team dynamics having players from different regions and with different backgrounds/histories is extremely insightful for all of them.”
— Nathan Schmitt (@NBK) December 4, 2019
International teams that have in past failed have, in OG’s belief, done so mainly due to poor management. Debs and his organization meanwhile find themselves in a unique position in the industry. Winning The International two years in a row didn’t just come with prestige; the prize money taken in by the team for both years exceeds $26M USD, taxes notwithstanding.
Esports Earnings puts Deb’s own all-time prize winnings at nearly $5.5M, and his teammate Johan “N0tail” Sundstein at nearly $7M. Both are listed as co-owners of CS:GO OG, with a 31% stake each. Debs said there are other financial contributors to the team, but added it was fair to describe it as personally funded by both himself and Sundstein.
“We do not look for return on investment when we venture into a game,” said Debs, who studied entrepreneurship and management at Audiencia Business School. “We decided to go with CS:GO as a choice of heart, and because we know our fans are as excited as we are. If we support the team the way we know how to do it, and they, therefore, can express their talent and potential, it is a win in our books.”
OG currently holds three commercial partners: Red Bull, which has bought space in the team’s logo, along with Danish peripheral company SteelSeries, and blockchain fan app Socios. As a company, OG has over 25 employees, and though it is based in Denmark, the CS:GO team won’t have a specific home base.
“It is part of how we support players, we do that depending on their agenda and travel schedule,” said Debs. “Therefore we will be accommodating them anywhere around the world depending on the competitive needs and requirements.”
He described the team as being in the ”observation phase” right now. “The second phase will be allocating the resources that we believe are needed in order to help them grow. We are personally involved in the process so far, and they are of course alongside a team manager for the daily needs.”