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"We Don't Come to Just Participate" — G2 CEO Alban Dechelotte talks VALORANT, Olympics

G2 Esports CEO talks joining the Olympic Esports Committee, acquiring The Guard's Valorant roster, and the org's push into North America
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Alban Dechelotte is eyeing more than just esports success in his position at G2 Esports – he’s looking to make real tangible connections everywhere and is using his experience from Riot to Coca-Cola to do so.

Dechelotte, the CEO of G2 Esports, was one of the three leaders announced earlier in January of 2023 in G2 Esports’ overhaul plan to both change its public perception and increase its overall network in gaming and so far, it’s working. The plan was to further enforce the identity of the organization as more than just a figurehead or a perceived public persona and it wasn’t one person’s project – it was a collective force. Despite the organization’s tagline as the ‘most entertaining esports organization in the world’ the more accurate headline should be successful. 

With over nine major competitive wins across various titles including Rainbow Six Siege, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, it’s a banner year for the team.

The next bridge to connect for G2 Esports

Alban Dechelotte watches G2 LEC

Dechelotte wants to talk about bridges and connections in addition to esports victories. His role in the change for G2 Esports is to create new visibility for esports in relationships that previously were seen as improbable. He brings with him traditional sports experience from both a publisher and sponsorship perspective and his next move is to use all of it to land the next big connection: the Olympics.

“When the new team in charge of esports for the Olympics asked me to be a panelist and later for an exhibition for Rocket League, I was happy because it meant a lot,” Dechelotte said. “There are not a lot of people in esports within the commission and I’m in the middle, so I want to share my experience of both worlds and do my best to have more kids play on the Olympic stage and the recognition they deserve as great athletes.”

To Dechelotte, the Olympics is a full-circle moment. From working the Olympic beat in Paris 20 years ago to creating original content through music and music games in Coca-Cola’s activation, the paths are crossing again. He cited the working environments in Beijing and London’s Olympic games as a familial one where he saw athletes from the past and present working together in attempts to inspire future ones and wants that for the esports world.

“I will try to build bridges and I want people to understand both perspectives. I hate when people say that the Olympics need esports more than we need them and vice versa. Both parties would benefit from the collaboration,” Dechelotte said. “We have the chance to create the first Olympic sport or discipline where all genders can play together because there’s no barrier with our sports. All I want is to see the smiles of the players and parents and the recognition they’ll get – that’s when we feel useful as an organization.”

New expansions in esports

G2 CEO suit

G2 Esports is still an esports organization and Dechelotte was not shy in reminding anyone who forgot. Theirs is the newest introduction to the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Americas League after its acquisition of the former members from The Guard.

 This represented the latest and best attempt at a roster in North America for a AAA title and it couldn’t come at a better time for the players and the Western fanbase. This was also the latest attempt after a long list of tries that included signing a Challenger team (that lost in the semifinals), buying a slot, investigating other leagues in other regions such as China, and even a 6–9-month application process for VCT Americas that fell short all for the chance to truly expand its reach to arguably one of the most popular regions.

“G2 is a global brand, we have around 26 nationalities within the collective right now, and we have an expressive voice: we love to entertain, we don’t take ourselves too seriously even when we hate to lose,” Dechelotte said. “The USA is the biggest country in terms of number of fans globally, so we have a lot of fans that we owe with great players to cheer for some local heroes.”

Alban Headshot 2

Dechelotte views Valorant as a long-term investment and because the game’s potential and viability are also long-term – it’s a rare truly global first-person shooter. He talks about the possibilities to create in-game items that can further connect fans to its teams and because the VCT is a league with fewer teams than many other esports competitions or even traditional sports; it’s a smaller VIP club that G2 Esports is happy to be a part of. It’s one of the fastest-growing games in the gaming space and Dechelotte emphasized that it was just one of the titles that clicked with the organization and that it needed to bring its voice to America.

The process to land into one of the fastest-growing games was difficult and, at times, felt impossible but G2 Esports is here and ready to create new rivalries and moments. If its reputation on social media is seen as aloof and carefree with an emphasis on having fun at the opponent’s expense, that’s the surface-level curated image. Dechelotte wants to remind the people that if G2 Esports is involved, there will be success to follow. 

“We are G2 and we don’t come to just participate, that’s for sure,” Dechelotte said.