Former owner and CEO of OpTic Gaming, Hector “H3cz” Rodriguez, announce Sunday that he will be leaving the team he’s been managing for the last 12 years and join a new home in NRG Esports.
According to the joint statement released by Rodriguez and OpTic Gaming, the two parties held long, amicable discussions about Rodriguez’s future within the company but “ultimately, Rodriguez declined the opportunity to remain in his current role with OpTic and instead chose to pursue new and independent ventures.”
As part of the NRG Esports family, Rodriguez will serve as co-CEO alongside NRG’s own Andy Miller. “So excited to have H3cz as my duo,” Miller wrote on Twitter, adding “Big things ahead of NRG.”
Why did H3cz leave?
OpTic Gaming is one of the most recognizable brands in esports, with the org dating back to 2006 and being closely associated with multiple esports, most prominently Call of Duty. So why did its CEO of 12 years leave?
The reason is OpTic Gaming’s corporate restructuring. In June, following multiple reports of new ownership coming in, the owners of the Optic Gaming franchise, Infinite Esports & Entertainment, were acquired by Immortals Gaming Club. And since Immortals already own esports franchises of their own, such as the Los Angeles Valiant in Overwatch and Immortals in CS:GO, OpTic Gaming had to exit these esports to avoid conflict of interests. The upcoming Call of Duty franchised league would also have city-based brands like the Overwatch League, meaning no OpTic Gaming there either.
This would be few of the several corporate moves that would end up eroding the OpTic Gaming brand until it eventually disappears. OpTic also control one of the 10 LCS franchise spots in League of Legends, which is prime esports real estate that Immortals are likely to re-brand in the 2020 season. Just a few weeks after the acquisition, Immortals also released the entire OpTic Gaming Gears of War team — a storied roster in conversation for being the GOAT of that game.
In the months leading up to the ownership change, Rodriguez himself was in a bidding race to acquire Infinite Esports & Entertainment, and thus keep control over his own organization. “I will continue to try, until the final ‘no'”, Rodriguez wrote on May 21. Less than a month later, he’d lose the bid to Immortals.
H3cz’s future with NRG
It’s been less than a day since H3cz joined NRG, so little is known about what the long-time OpTic CEO will oversee in his new team, but odds are he will focus on the Chicago franchise that NRG purchased in the Call of Duty Global League. NRG also own the OWL brand San Francisco shock and one of the hottest North American CS:GO rosters, so there will be plenty of chances for Rodriguez to face and best his former team.