On February 13th, it was announced that European organisation Red Reserve would be relaunching after shutting up shop in early 2019. Riddled with accusations of missed payments and organisational mishandling, it’s fair to say that the public perception surrounding the brand isn’t at its most positive.
To get answers regarding its return, Esports Insider spoke with Kim Alden, CEO of Red Reserve.
Esports Insider: What it is about the Red Reserve brand that made you want to take it on?
Kim Alden: We had an organisation that we started a year ago, which competed in PUBG Mobile, and we built that organisation up from scratch with teams in Europe, North America, and Africa. It has been a really good and solid organisation.
Then we came across the opportunity to actually buy the license of Red Reserve and we all know what it has been. It was really sad to see it go down the way that it did. We are not involved with the old Red Reserve company or board members. We have nothing to do with them, none of them.
We felt that, when we got the opportunity, it would be really, really fun because we have a really good reputation in PUBG Mobile; we have one of the best teams in Europe playing for us. They are playing in the World Championship right now: PMCO. It’s the biggest tournament in PUBG Mobile with a prize pool of $5 million this season.
X-Gamer was with the old Red Reserve. I called them up and talked about what we are doing, what we are going to do, and asked them if they wanted to do this with us. We entered a short-term contract, for a couple of months, so that they are our main sponsor. They will help to get us started with launching the new Red Reserve.
“We want to continue the journey we have had with Relentless and build it up slow.”
ESI: Is the stated acquisition of Relentless eSports LTD just a shifting of assets and resources?
KA: It’s an acquisition. Relentless is the organisation we built up and the European team has moved over and is signed with Red Reserve. We are still going to have members that play with Relentless but we have released that organisation to a few players that have been with us forever. They will run that organisation from now on.
ESI: What level of backing does Red Reserve now have when it comes to capital?
KA: The main thing when we started with Red Reserve was that we have to build up slow. We can’t do the same thing as many other organisations; they take in big investors, they have a lot of capital and buy one of the greatest teams out there, then the money maybe doesn’t come in and everything goes sideways.
We want to continue the journey we have had with Relentless and build it up slow. We are not going to buy teams that we don’t have the funds for. The teams that we have under contract, we already have all the salaries for them for the whole length of the contract. We can never go the way in which we can’t pay the players.
ESI: So you simply acquired the license to Red Reserve?
KA: Yeah, it was last year. The old Red Reserve sold out their social media and then we got opportunity to buy the brand worldwide, so we have the rights for Red Reserve all over the world.
ESI: Red Reserve used to have a big social media following but you don’t have access to that. What is it about the brand that makes it worthwhile without the preexisting following?
KA: When you look at what Red Reserve was and you see the community they had, it was exactly that: a community. We really liked that, before everything went the way that it did, when they had the content creators and the Red House. It was really, really good community. They had a fan base that loved them and it was quite easy to want to do that and build it up again, for the fans, for us, for the players.
“We are not going to pay off the debts that the old board members and the old company should.”
ESI: Has the alleged debt owed to players, creators, and staff been paid off or do you not see that as your responsibility?
KA: That is the million dollar question. The problem is that we are a new company. We are new management, we have nothing to do with the old board members and company at all – they still work on other organisations out there. We are not going to pay off the debts that the old board members and the old company should.
ESI: How do you plan on turning the Red Reserve brand around into something positive?
KA: We are going to do this our way and we are not going to promise any player anything that we can’t give them. We’re not going to promise the world, we’re not going to give them salaries that we don’t have the funds for. We are going to start from the bottom and actually build it up the right way. We have a really good community on Discord and social media from Relentless. Everybody’s really excited to go on this journey with us.
Why we’ve chosen to do this right now is because of PMCO. It’s in the group stage phase now and on March 7th our team will play for two weeks. We’ll go to the semifinals and we’re certain they will make it.
ESI: What makes your team qualified to run such a well-known and prominent brand?
KA: I came across them when we were in other organisations and those organisations had done stuff that we didn’t like: making promises to players that they didn’t hold and stuff like that. We put our heads together and said that we want to do this the right way.
Four of the board members from Relentless are alongside me at Red Reserve now. We hand-picked two other guys that we wanted to have with the experience of running a company and with a good network of connections. We are also looking at advisers, they all going to help us in the board as well so, yeah, it looks really good right now.
ESI: Is a big investment such as franchising in your plans or do you perhaps plan to just stay with mobile esports?
KA: We are open to all games. We are really, really good in mobile gaming, but we are also looking into esports on consoles and PC.
“In the long run we will be one of the best out there, I promise you that.”
ESI: Do you think you can take the Red Reserve brand further than it has ever been?
KA: I really think so, I’m almost certain that we will, but it will take time because we have to build it up the right way. We can’t go in and do stuff that we don’t have the funds for or promise things that we can’t hold. So it’s going to take some time to do it but, yeah, in the long run we will be one of the best out there, I promise you that.
ESI: Do you have a comment for the former Red Reserve players, staff, and fans?
KA: It’s really sad to see organisations to do what they have done, putting players and content creators on the spot when they haven’t been paid. It’s really sad to see. Red Reserve isn’t the only organisation that has done that. There’s a lot of organisations that have taken things the wrong way. They’re taking on big investors and then the money doesn’t come back to the investor. They stop paying and everything goes sideways when they can pay. We will build up this the right way so we can do what we promise. Any new players and content creators that come to us, we will make sure they get paid.