An investigative report that researches the new questions posed by the CPL’s latest press release.
Most everyone who has followed professional gaming since its inception will recognize one of the most famous (and perhaps infamous) brand names to ever exist: CPL. The organization that helped pioneer digital “eSports” and “cyber athletics” has a storied history that is full of both success and controversy. For the past two years gamers worldwide have awaited the full return of the league with cautious anticipation, and after a very long countdown on www.thecpl.com, the community was given the following press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
LAUNCH OF NEW CPL GAMING PORTAL
A New Era for The CPL
Singapore 1st May 2010 – CPL Digital Entertainment Pte. Ltd. is pleased to announce the launch of the new CPL gaming portal and its acquisition by WuLong Ventures Pte. Ltd.
“The new CPL is a departure from the professional gaming craze that has consumed most of the industry over the past few years and led to decisions that were not in the best interest of the community. We aspire to build a platform that empowers gamers with the ability to make key decisions about the games we support and how those games interact with our sites. While we respect the notion of professional gaming we feel there’s a need to get back to the roots that first allowed a community to develop through the CPL”said Ryan Schumacher, newly appointed CEO of WuLong Ventures Pte. LTD
The CPL site will be organized around game communities and allow gamers to select which they would like to interact with. Each community will have various modules such as beta testing, content and leagues that are defined by the community itself. “These channels mean we can break down the barriers and really listen to what our gamers want and react accordingly” said Hunter Luisi CTO of WuLong Ventures Pte. Ltd.
“The experience will be personalized for everyone and enable you to game the way you want. If you’re an RTS fan you can choose to participate in those communities and limit your engagement with other genres” In the coming weeks the CPL will be bringing features online and making additional announcements that will enable the community to shape this vision. “This is really the first step in getting ourselves out there so gamers understand what the new CPL is all about. We understand the need for an open, online gaming community and are looking to fill that void through the CPL and CAL.” said Frank Yong, Chairman of WuLong Ventures Pte. Ltd. “By building an infrastructure that allows the community to stand on its own two feet we can provide a place gamers can call home”
Claims for Unpaid Prize Money
One of the major issues that have come up over the years has been the alleged non-payment of prize monies to a number of players from previous CPL events. As we start to unveil our new course for CPL, the previous owners and we would like to show our commitment to the community and those that participated in the past CPL events by paying anyone who can prove that they did not receive their prize payments. These claims will go through a vetting process and be audited by a third party. The form to begin the process, if you feel you’re qualified, will be released this week as part of the CPL Portal rollout.”
This curious public statement left many gamers confused and many serious observers scratching their heads. More than anything, it has presented more questions than answers.
The first question is why would we have such a long countdown to a press release that really tells us nothing at all? Was this what they always intended to announce or were some of the allegations given by Tonya Welch about Scott Valencia enough to send the new CPL scrambling to announce something on the set date? It appears the CPL was very careful to use names like Ryan Schumacher and Hunter Luisi to add some gaming credibility to the project and apparently try to cast a doubt as to whether Mr. Valencia is still or ever was involved with the new CPL. Thus, the key questions become who are these new representatives and how, if at all, have they been involved with Mr. Valencia in the past?
Below is a family tree of what will be discussed in this article. This summary is easily found on the LinkedIn profiles of the individuals being discussed.
2003 – CEO of WiredLabs (Parent company of AmpedNews.com)
2006 – Sells Company to Games Media Properties (Parent Company of WSVG)
2008 – Games Media Properties changes name to Giant Realm
2010 – Announced as CEO of CPL
2004 – CEO/Owner of Team Sportcast Network (TsN)
2006 – Sells 1/3 of the company to Games Media Properties (Parent Company of WSVG)
2007 – Becomes Technical Director at Games Media Properties
2010 – Announced as CTO of CPL
Much about Scott Valencia’s career is well known and is public information. Mr. Valencia does not appear to have a LinkedIn profile (it was apparently deleted only recently) but a Google search of “Scott Valencia VP CPL” returned an interesting result. A LinkedIn profile existed at one time and the Google summary says the following:
2005 – Scott Valencia is Operations Director for the original CPL
2006 – Becomes EVP of Games Media Properties (Parent Company of WSVG)
2008 – Scott Valencia becomes Senior VP at Championship Gaming Series
August 2009 – Linkedin profile states he is CEO at CPL Holding Group (THE CPL)
Mid March 2010 – TheCPL.com starts an announcement countdown
April 2010 – CPL Don’t Be Fooled article comes out
May 1, 2010 – CPL Makes announcement with no mention of Scott Valencia
Is Scott Valencia still involved with the CPL? If there was no merit to Tonya Welch’s allegations why is Mr. Valencia no longer the public CEO of the CPL? Currently there are no solid answers to these questions. However, there are bread crumbs and a trail that leads in an interesting direction.
Ryan Schumacher was the CEO of WiredLabs in the early years of eSports. According to industry insiders, when WiredLabs was acquired by Games Media Properties, Scott Valencia was the man that negotiated the deal. Scott Valencia also negotiated the purchase of 1/3 of TsN in 2006 from Hunter Luisi and Dodd Perry, who were the owners of TsN. When contacted, Mr. Perry confirmed this fact: “Scott Valencia negotiated the deal with Hunter and I, to sell one third of our company to Games Media Properties in 2006.” Though we were unable to locate press releases for the acquisition of TsN, Linkedin profiles for Ryan, Hunter and Dodd Perry confirmed the partial buyout mentnioned in the quote above. Hunter Luisi then became the technical director for Games Media Properties.
Ryan’s profile is not public but his past title was Business Development Director at Giant Realm (which is the name Games Media Properties goes by today). The first paragraph of his summary says the following:
I founded my first media company in 2003 which was sold to Giant Realm in 2006. It was a remarkable experience that taught me many lessons about living through and growing a young company. I learned an immense amount during my time at Giant Realm and refined my skills to enable me to succeed at my next venture. Giant Realm was sold to Burst Media in the fall of 2009.
Is it just a coincidence that the two names mentioned in yesterday’s press release are people Mr. Valencia has had a long history of business dealings with?
Other interesting questions arise when we study the supposed corporate structure of the CPL First the CPL was allegedly acquired by a Middle Eastern investment group. Then at some point it was called the CPL Holding Group, LLC, with no mention of the Middle Eastern investment group. Now the latest press release says “CPL Digital Entertainment Pte. Ltd is pleased to announce the launch of the new CPL gaming portal and its acquisition by WuLong Ventures Pte. Ltd.” (emphasis added).
What does all of this mean? Why is there a need for the different names used in every press release and various shell companies holding the CPL? What, if anything, are they trying to hide? Is this all a shell game where one of these companies is run by Scott Valencia? Which one is he under, if any? At the end of the day the main question is why the constant name changes? Is the community supposed to believe that this many independent companies see value in a tarnished CPL brand and want to buy it in a period of one year? Is the community to believe that the CPL brand has changed hands to at least four different company names in a matter of a year?
Even if Mr. Valencia is behind the apparent smoke and mirrors, does it even matter? It may not be important to the average gamer, but it seems important enough to the new CPL to make it appear as though he is not. Perhaps that should make the community pause and take note. If we assume he is still involved, the countdown timer and confusing press release could mean the CPL mislead the community and is hiding the fact that Scott Valencia is still calling the shots.
Should we be excited or cautious and wary? At the end of the day that is a question best answered by each individual eSports player and fan. We encourage you to take what you have read here and make up your own mind.
(We have reached out to the individuals mentioned in this article and have received no responses. We will continue to seek official statements.)
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