Virtus.pro CEO: "All the assets of Virtus.pro belong to us, including the contracts with players"
New investor and CEO of Virtus.pro Aram Karamanukyan gave his first interview since the acquisition of the club. In a conversation with a Dexerto journalist, a businessman previously unknown to the esports community spoke about himself and commented on a deal with the ESforce holding, which could allow the rosters to get rid of the sanctions imposed by the biggest tournament operators on the former owner and play under their original name again.
According to Karamanukyan, before taking over Virtus.pro, he was not involved in the esports industry and was in the construction business. A suggestion to buy the eminent organization came to him from a childhood friend.
Aram Karamanukyan is a man, Armenian, a businessman, an investor, a father of a 10-year-old girl… This will be the shortest and most accurate description. In more detail, I have been involved in construction and finance all my life, and now, as a CEO of, I am responsible for the strategic development of one of the most decorated esports clubs in the world.
You probably realized by now that before buying, I had nothing to do with esports. <...> A close childhood friend of mine suggested that I invest in an esports club that was in a difficult situation. He suggested it because he has been working in this industry for a long time and knows it well. I became interested and studied the matter: I watched the matches, analytics, what kind of audience the tournaments gather and how much the largest American clubs cost … In particular, I consulted with consultants from the Big Three. And I realized that I was interested in investing and trying myself in this area, in this part of the entertainment industry.
Shortly after the deal, Virtus.pro's press office stated in a comment to the media that "the new investor owns only the Virtus.pro trademark". Karamanukyan assured that there was a miscommunication between the parties and that all the assets, including the contracts with players, now belong to the new owner.
There was a bit of miscommunication. The media asked us under what name we would play:or Outsiders. And we wrote that we only have the rights to the brand, meaning that Outsiders is a name invented by the players, and this tag, of course, was not a part of the deal. Therefore, we can and will only compete as . And someone understood this as the fact that we have only a trademark – and nothing more. This is not true, of course. All the assets of belong to us, including the contracts with players.
At the same time, the new CEO of Virtus.pro refuted the belief of part of the community that the deal was fictitious to bypass the sanctions.
I would like to answer the questions about the transaction, once and for all: it was made on market terms. We have provided all the necessary documents to the largest publishers and tournament operators – that’s a fact, not a rumor. I am not going to succumb to any provocations and will demand respect for my club.
This week, the organizers of the final qualifying tournament for The International 2022 (Dota 2), where the Virtus.pro roster was supposed to play under the Outsiders tag, returned the original name to the team. Karamanukyan confirmed successful negotiations with Valve and PGL.
The renaming was the result of our negotiations with Valve and PGL, which approved our attendance under thetag. I am encouraged by the positive decision from Valve. And I would be very surprised if the decision of the tournament operators contradicted it. However, in today’s complex world, anything is possible.
The head of Virtus.pro also said that he is waiting for a decision to allow the club in ESL tournaments. The organization's management, however, did not contact BLAST.
Let me point out that we ourselves proactively contacted ESL to discuss the matter of performing under the name. We have provided all supporting documents and are now awaiting a decision. But we have not contacted BLAST, so we don’t really understand what is being considered there.
Rounding off the interview, Karamanukyan noted that if ESL or some other tournament operator does not lift the sanctions, Virtus.pro will seek the right to play under their own name.