The Esports Advocate has learned that UK-based tournament operator and esports agency Promod Esports has filed for insolvency (bankruptcy), which should be part of the public record officially at the end of November. Former employees have also taken to social media to reveal that the entire staff had been laid off recently. According to a public record filing, Promod employed an average of eight employees during April 2021 to March 2022.
So as more people are slowly becoming aware, last week I, alongside all of the other staff at Promod, were made redundant. I loved working with everyone at the company, and I feel like we really put on some spectacular events. I’m going to miss working with everyone, but 1/2
— JakeyBoyPro (@jakeyboypro) November 18, 2023
In addition to insolvency and laying off its entire staff, sources tell TEA that Promod owes casters and players payments from events reaching back as far as June. Sources tell TEA that Promod still owes players and staff payments from the Valorant Challengers League Northern Europe Polaris: Split 2 that ended in early-June and owes casters who handled the English broadcast of the Beacon Finals – which is also part of the Valorant grassroots regional circuit for Northern Europe.
One example of this is illustrated in a post from Charlotte Willmott (better known in the community as Lotty or Lotty W), who published her story related to Promod on Sunday afternoon. In it she explains that she is still owed for production work on a number of Promod events stretching back as far as July including the FIA Formula E Accelerate: Rome Major, FIA Formula E Accelerate: London LAN Finals, and Beacon Bingo in September.
TEA first began investigating the financial state of the Northamptonshire, UK-based company on Monday—we reached out to the company and its founder and CEO Rob Black for comment earlier this week, but both Black and Promod have not responded, as of the time of writing.
Sources also tell TEA that Riot Games is considering consolidating/merging its Northern Europe region with its DACH region (German-speaking regions – Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) if it can’t find a suitable solution to fill the void created by the Promod situation. While a Riot Games spokesperson did not comment on the specifics, they did say in a statement issued to TEA on Sunday morning that it was discontinuing its partnership with Promod and exploring options for 2024:
For the 2024 VALORANT Challengers EMEA Season, we are discontinuing our partnership with Promod, Tournament Organiser for VALORANT Challengers Northern Europe: Polaris.
VALORANT Challengers Leagues exist to develop the next generation of international talent and we’re committed now more than ever to give players in EMEA the opportunity to play, thrive and compete, including in Northern Europe.
We will be sure to share more information with the community when we have further updates about the VALORANT Challengers Northern Europe: Polaris league for 2024.
Promod announced the first details on VRL Northern Europe: Polaris—the Valorant Regional League (VRL) for Northern Europe—in December of 2021. Polaris was described at the time as a competition aimed at grassroots players in the UK, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, and promised to provide players within those regions a path into the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT). In April of 2022, it also announced Beacon, a grassroots Valorant tournament circuit (sitting below Polaris) for players in the UK, Ireland, and Nordics, with support from GooseHouse and Leagues.gg.
Even as Promod still owed money to teams from the Polaris: Split 2—according to our sources—it partnered with Guild Esports and Sky Broadband for its Street Fighter 6-focused event, the “sweat room.” Guild Esports announced on Aug. 25, that it would collaborate with Sky Broadband (as part of a wider partnership with Sky UK) for a new Street Fighter 6 team and to launch a “sweat room,” a live-streamed Street Fighter 6 tournament, with participants competing in one-on-one matches in a “heated room” so that they could literally feel the heat while under the pressure of active competition.
Promod also recently served as the official audiovisual partner of the ESI London Film Festival, which took place as part of the recent ESI London esports business event facilitated by UK-based media company Esports Insider.
Promod also operates grassroots/amateur-level Rainbow Six Siege esports in the region through a partnership with Paris-based games publisher Ubisoft. In 2020, Promod partnered with Ubisoft to “conceptualize, organize, and execute the inaugural United Kingdom & Ireland Nationals (UKIN) for Rainbow Six Siege,” according to a release. In 2022, it expanded that partnership to include the Nordic Championships (NC) and the Northern Premier League (NPL), with the UK & Ireland Nationals and Nordic Championships “serving as direct feeders to the NPL.”
Promod is helping to facilitate the upcoming Malta Cyber Series: VII – Rainbow Six Siege Edition, which is set to take place from December – March 2023. It is unclear what the company will be able to do in light of laying off all of its staff and filing for insolvency…
Promod Esports was founded in 2019 by UK gaming industry veterans including former ESL UK Chief Operating Officer Rob Black to create what the company called at the time “authentic B2C connections for IP owners.” Currently listed officers and directors of the company include Heather Dower (CEO of creative marketing agency Hotdrop and co-chair of UKIE Esports Group), Rob Black (CEO and founder of Promod), and James Dean (currently in charge of product licensing for ESL FACEIT Group in the UK).
Following the publication of this story, James Dean issued a public statement noting that he has not been involved in Promod for more than a year:
As this news is now becoming known, I want to be clear, sadly I have had very little to do with Promod for the past 1.5 years and I’m currently in a legal dispute regarding this. Unfortunately I’m not in a position to share more details at this time.
— James Dean (@j1mco) November 19, 2023
Editor’s note: this story was updated on Monday morning the comments from James Dean and a link to a post from claiming Promod owes them for previous work on multiple competitions and events.