Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, League of Legends and of course Call of Duty, Whatever game you choose Valour eSports has it covered with excellent rosters playing for one of the regions top teams which, surprisingly, is only one year old. Dominating the CoD scene, coming second at Overwatch contests and recently winning “Rails MSI Cup” in CS: GO, we had to get to know this organization a bit more and go deeper into their realm.
- Today we have our guest “Jason Michael Mann” here with us in this exclusive interview. He’s the Co-CEO and founder of Valour eSports and the man behind their successful squads. Mr. Jason welcome aboard! I’d like you to introduce yourself a little to our followers who are eager to know more about you.
Thanks for having me. I’m Jason, known as MoTo in the Middle East eSports community, South African/British expat. I’ve lived in Dubai for just over 17 years now. I was introduced into eSports roughly 7 years ago back in 2010 with League of Legends in the first season and from there my passion for the industry grew faster than I could have imagined. Back in 2012 I got into Call of Duty and started putting all my time and effort into it, becoming one of the best players in the region. I joined an eSports organisation called Zenix eSports in 2014 and started management with Zenix. Zenix broke up in 2015. I was jumping around UK eSports organisations until I decided I wanted to help focus and grow the Middle East eSports scene, so I started Valour eSports on March 31st 2016, here we are now and the rest is history!
- So Valour eSports. The current a dominating force in CoD and other competitive FPS titles. How did the team start? What were you thinking when you came up with the idea of forming a Middle East-based organization?
Well I noticed within the Middle East eSports community, there was some main pillars lacking in terms of structure and professionalism. Valour eSports was created to bring the pillars of success in the industry to the region. We mainly focus on ensuring our teams are upheld to a professional standard in both the way that they present themselves on social media as well as at tournaments, and to ensure that tournament organisers were taking the teams and players more seriously. I’ve also lived in Dubai for the majority of my life, I call Dubai my home and really wanted to see the region thrive in the Middle East. I could talk about the improvements on the region for hours, I might make a video about it with the Valour Co-CEO, Ben ‘Falcore’ Davey at some point.
- The name “Valour eSports” sure sounds catchy. Is there an actual story behind it or was it the result of a random choice?
The name, colour, motto and logo of Valour eSports all have meanings behind them and were thought out. The word Valour stands for “courage in the face of battle” with synonyms like “bravery, spirit, heroism and fearlessness”. This is what I wanted the players to feel when representing the team and being the face of “Valour eSports”.
Our colour is practically a light blue, which of course represents honesty, trustworthiness and loyalty. All factors which we hold close to us and require from all the members in management.
The logo is in the shape of a shield, which of course relates to the name of Valour in terms of armour against the opponent’s attacks.
Lastly our motto “Fight With Valour”, this is directed towards everyone that supports Valour eSports. We want our community to stand with us as we go into each tournament and show their support no matter the outcome, which of course gives our teams courage when in battle knowing our community is with us.
- The team seems to be picking up a lot of reputation in such short time. We were surprised of how much our fans like and cheer for you! How are you handling this kind of following do you guys engage with your fans or do special live streams maybe where you give back to the community?
Thank you, that means a lot to all of us here at Valour eSports. We used to host giveaways for our fans but we have decided that it’s not the best way to give back to the community. We want to give back to the community as much as we can, we want to give back to our supporters as much as we can. If we see someone who is showing us support for a long period of time then we send them a custom Valour eSports jersey or mousepad(and I must say the mousepads are sweet)! We will be starting weekly streams for our fans to interact with the teams. We have also started a Youtube series giving an insight into our teams called “Legacy”, if you haven’t seen it head over to our Youtube channel and see how our Overwatch team did at the most recent LAN! We do however want to create more of a bond with our community, and will be brainstorming more ideas to bring the teams and the community closer!
- What do you think sets the team apart from the competition? What points are the strongest about you?
We have a different outlook on success to other teams. Most teams see winning an event as success, which all in all is understandable. However, for us it’s about the growth in the teams in terms of their performance and the community as a whole. Our goal when Valour eSports was created wasn’t to only be the top organisation in the region but to help improve the industry here and bring it to the forefront of mainstream sports in the Middle East. Our players and members also show loyalty and respect to our opposition and the community, helping players who are at a lower tier, or interacting with our supporters. I personally get to chat with someone new almost everyday who supports Valour eSports and it’s amazing to see the passion and support that people are showing us on a daily basis! I think that’s what makes us different. It’s about how we actually care.
- Your teams are quite diverse in terms of players and staff nationalities. Was that ever a burden on communications or is it something that adds flavor to the mix?
Our teams come from all around the world, Kenya, Canada, India, UAE, UK etc. The diverseness of our teams has never been an issue. Infact, I feel as though because of the wide range of nationalities we have within Valour eSports, we are the most true to represent the UAE. The country itself is something like 83% expats. It’s a country where every culture comes together and gets along well. This is something that shows and really shines through Valour, it’s something that I would never change.
- Can you share some recent and future plans for the organization? What’s next?
Ahhh well, we have a lot going on behind the scenes, but that’s something that I’m not allowed to discuss just yet. Just know that we are exploring every avenue both inside and outside of gaming, to not help just Valour eSports but to help the community itself. Because at the end of the day, if the community grows, then we grow!
- How do you view the Middle Eastern esports scene and what do you wish to be improved about it?
Patience. This is directed towards mainly players, I’ve noticed that many of the players don’t understand that the eSports industry within the region is still rising. I’ve spoken to players and teams whom I wanted to join Valour, and they replied asking about how much salary I’m offering and demand housing, computers, peripherals etc. For this to happen, teams and players have to create something bigger and help build the community not just themselves. Of course there is the generic ‘funding, sponsors, tournaments etc’, whilst this is true, this won’t happen until the community come to show commitment, loyalty and respect towards each other. So I guess I would also say that I wish more members of the eSports industry would show those 3 improvements. We got very lucky as Valour eSports managed to find those players who now only show talent and skill but have the 3 attributes I mentioned above.
- Any words for young and passionate players out there? Some advices that can help them out in maybe one day standing next to Valour on the stage.
Practice and have fun whilst you’re doing it. Being a part of a competitive team can sometimes make you forget why you started gaming in the first place, or it’ll take away your passion with making it feel like a chore. If your passion is to compete with the best of the best then be sure to stay respectful and loyal. Top teams and organisations won’t play along side of you if you don’t have the right attitude towards it.
- Thank you so much for your time here. We wish you the best of luck in the coming tournaments!
Thank you for having me, I hope to see you guys more! Be sure to tune into the podcast that we will be making with all things eSports in the Middle East!
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