With the landmark partnership between G2 Esports and Blacklist International, Tier One Entertainment CEO Tryke Gutierrez is after one important thing for his organisation: to build a culture of winning.
“We want to build a winning culture, but that doesn't mean we can win all of the time," Tryke said in an interview with Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia.
While Gutierrez quipped about the similarities between G2 and Blacklist in terms of (less-than-ideal) results, he also saw the value of what a global organisation like G2 can bring to Blacklist, which has largely remained within the mobile esports scene in Southeast Asia.
“G2 is known for their 0-3 standing [in the Worlds 2019 Finals], while we are known for our 0-4 standing [M4 Finals],” he joked.
“Kidding aside, G2 has always been known as one of the top organisations out there. I mean, for us, for us we’re aiming to become the top organisation for mobile esports. So I feel like with G2’s history and with what we have done here in Asia, what we can do together is really something different.”
Bringing in the League of Legends community
Gutierrez admitted that he wasn’t an expert in League of Legends (LoL) when G2 came with a proposed partnership to enter League of Legends: Wild Rift, LoL's mobile version.
“For me personally, I’m a Dota 2 guy, and for me personally, League of Legends is not my space,” said Gutierrez.
“We understand that esports is a game of communities, and to have G2, in a way, will get us to the community of League like no other orgs out there.”
There will be challenges, of course. And G2-Blacklist has already encountered its fair share, bombing out of the Philippine qualifiers for Wild Rift League Asia amid all the hype.
The Tier One CEO remained optimistic, saying that building a winning culture doesn't mean you have to win all of the time. If nothing else, he said that "this is going to be a fun partnership.”
— BLACKLIST INTERNATIONAL 👑 (@BLACKLISTINTL) February 15, 2023
The G2B partnership dynamics: a 50/50 partnership
All the excitement of such a landmark partnership aside, Gutierrez emphasised that G2-Blacklist is a 50/50 partnership. And it needs to be so in order for it to work.
“I don’t see this as ‘we’re operating, they’re just watching.’ I feel like G2 has been very heavily involved," said Gutierrez.
He then brought up the announcement video that Blacklist International released on social media, where he made a rare appearance on an official announcement. In the past, Gutierrez largely kept to his own social media accounts when sharing developments within his organisation.
"I know you’ve also seen my really bad acting in the video, but that was G2 also,” he quipped.
“I never put out any video where I acted. I’m more organic, and more into vlogs and stuff like that. So the fact that the announcement is formatted in that way already shows the G2 touch.”
And to make things work, from creating announcement videos to fielding a competitive team, Gutierrez said that there had to be a lot of listening and communicating on both sides.
“We want to make sure that there’s a right synergy and balance between how G2 runs things and how Blacklist does it too,” said Gutierrez.
“Being able to balance the philosophies of both organizations is key to this partnership.”
Tier One's CEO also believed that his organisation “can learn a lot from how G2 operates on a global level.”
Although Blacklist International is seen as one of the leading teams in the mobile esports space, he said that esports organisations in the West are “[doing things] differently compared to how we do it in the Philippines.”
After all, the entry of a global esports giant like G2 into the Philippines is a huge boon for the country's esports scene. Regardless of how the G2-Blacklist partnership will ultimately pan out, it has already made huge waves in the esports scene in both the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.
Of course, Gutierrez wants his organisation to succeed. And building a winning culture by taking from what Blacklist already had and what G2 brings to the table will be a huge part of that.
“For me, the expectations every time we go into a first season is we just do our best because that’s the way that Blacklist has done things in the different games that we’ve been in,” said Gutierrez.
“And then from there, we’ll identify the problem, fine-tune it, and hopefully turn them into World champions.”
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.