Season 3 of SMITE brought us the first EU organization to have a team in the SPL and the SCL. CycloneGG is a young organization that broke into the SMITE scene for season 3. While they didn't finish exactly where they wanted the future looks bright for the young organization. I sat down with the founder of CycloneGG, Slak to ask a few questions about how he got into esports and the future of CycloneGG.
Ben Hernandez: What made you decide to start an esports org?
Slak: I’ve been following eSports for a very long time but never had the time or money to start up an org and to have a great group of people alongside me with the same aspirations and goals just makes the experience 100 times more enjoyable. I’ve always dreamt about making an org and having it a household name, that’s the vision that made me start Cyclone.
Slak: Cyclone was founded on April 17th, Me and Jarrod “Frost” who I’ve known for roughly a year before we made Cyclone were always open to making an org together but the time wasn’t always there as I was in management for an organization and he was running one with his old friend. We seen an opportunity to build a brand that could dominate scene by scene, this is where Cyclone was born. The name Cyclone just came out of nowhere as me and Jarrod were brainstorming for names then I believe I found the name Cyclone, we were both happy with it, got a logo to match it then we started building the brand. We started in 1st June realistically as there were a few set backs.
BH: What made you look at Smite specifically?
Slak: I’ve been a SMITE fan for quite some time and I know the players that are competing in the pro scene don’t tend to have any sort of ego unlike some other scenes, I felt this would be a great branch to invest into as big prize pool and good ROI. The management staff over at HiRez a are great help especially when you’ve lots of questions like we did at the very beginning. I know a lot of household names such as Dignitas, NRG (who were panthera at the time) that are competing in the SPL so that also sparked my interest : to be able to compete with these names.
Slak: I talk to the players 3-4 times a week, maybe more. I try to keep our relationship not only business but friendship. I feel as though we’ve built great relationships with all of our players currently and we strive off of “Putting the players first”. We have nothing but respect for any past,present,future player coming into Cyclone, we would never do anything out of harm's way to affect anyone, this is why I feel we have good relationships. They feel no threat as other orgs may make players feel.
BH: What do you do to try and compete with some of these orgs owned by celebrities such as NRG or Dignitas and the 76ers?
Slak: There’s not much you can do other than keep snatching up players/teams that will help benefit your organisation growth, I am happy with the state Cyclone is in as we compete with these Orgs owned by celebrities. This is esports man, it’s growing rapidly I wouldn’t be surprised if another sports team decided to invest into an eSports tomorrow :D!
BH: What are the future plans of CycloneGG?
Slak: Future plans would be to keep building our brand and to keep improving in both SPL & SCL while also expanding into different game titles!
Slak:As of now, I wouldn’t change anything, if there was something terribly bad in the industry that forced away investors then you wouldn’t see much people investing in it i.e SHAQ, 76ers. I would love more TV broadcasts of eSports as I do feel it qualifies as a sport and don’t see why it hasn’t already broke into these Sports channels.
Slak:Being the first team in Europe to hold both an SPL & SCL roster.
Slak:It’s great, we have brilliant communication with them. They’re nothing but great to us and we respect them very much as do they.
Slak: We’re looking into a few game titles right now, we’re in talks with one or two teams… can’t give away much but CS:GO and SSBM
Slak: Obstacles when we first founded was definitely players thinking that we were just this org that lied about what we could offer and were going to just disband from the organization in a few months… when you see an org with 200-500 followers you don’t believe what they can offer as they’ve nothing to back it up.We don’t actually have any obstacles now/lately it’s smooth from here on in.
Slak: Could take up to a month to get ink on paper. Our SPL team took a rather long time to agree on terms, this is just the process you have to be patient for I guess. The process is: you contact them, wait for a response, go in depth about what you can offer, they review it, get back to us, we agree on terms, we make up the contract, they review it, they tell us what needs to be adjusted if any. Then we sign!