It’s not often a proven filmmaker enters the esports industry in a senior capacity, never mind as the CEO of a player-owned organisation that has attained over $33.5 million in prize winnings.
JMR Luna has been appointed as the CEO of OG Esports, the four-time Major winners and two-time victors of Dota 2’s coveted The International tournament. Looking to take over the operational and strategic reins of the organisation, Luna will be the bridge between the board and the organisation itself – overseeing international expansions and potential future funding.
He’s also experienced in esports, by the way, having served as Head of Content for Evil Geniuses in 2017 before moving on to become the VP of Content Production for Immortals – and its brands MIBR and Los Angeles Valiant – in 2018. He then stepped aside to spend some time with his other passion, producing a film for Netflix,- before joining OG Esports as its CEO.
“I have known Sébastien [“Ceb” Debs], Johan [“N0tail” Sundstein], and the guys at OG for years and I found them extremely inspiring and inspirational,” Luna told Esports Insider. “Like Charlie the COO says: They have worked very hard to build a major international esports organisation governed by core values they believed in and I want to be part of that.”
“OG is a very premium organisation with a wonderful brand and an astounding legacy of competitive success. They have achieved incredible victories in Dota 2 by winning four Majors and The International two years in a row, and now they need to capitalize on that success to grow the company into the future.
You’d be amiss to assume that filmmaking and running an esports organisation don’t have many transferable skills, leading a team of professionals towards a goal happens to share a lot of the same qualities in this context.
“With movies, I am the CEO of the film,” he explained. “I lead all business operations, overseeing the project from beginning to end. I get to assemble groups of highly motivated and creative people, and help them work together efficiently in very dynamic environments. It’s very similar to esports if you think about it. I love that in movies I am the last line of defense; dealing with the most complicated situations and decisions helping the director achieve his creative vision.”
Transitioning from this area of work, though having prior experience in major organisations does indeed help, seems like a strange career trajectory. One so uncommon that it begs the question, “What did the path that led you here look like?”
“It was a long process,” explained Luna. “This is a very personal project for Johan and Sébastien, and they are completely committed to it. It was essential for them to see what kind of person I am and how I see the world, esports and OG. After that, we started having meetings that included Xavier and Charlie where we discussed strategy and alignment, and what needed to be done and in which order, and eventually they decided I was the right person for the project and offered me the position. It was a great day for me, and it has been great working with them every day.”
How exactly will Luna look to impact the player-owned organisation? He has a grand but grounded vision of a global expansion, and believes there are a lot of opportunities available now that there’s a person who can dedicate their unwavering time on running the organisation. Throughout speaking with Esports Insider, he was relentless in ensuring that the other owners, COO Charlie Debs and CRO Xavier Oswald, were also mentioned – to us, this shows signs of respect and solid teamwork already.
“I believe I can help to consolidate and grow the culture inside the company, and I believe my media and branding expertise will allow us to do very interesting stuff,” said Luna. “Because of my background and projects that have taken me all over the world, I have a unique set of experiences that give me a 360 view of the world and a unique independent viewpoint. I am not as ‘sports’ as other CEOs and I’m not as ‘esports’ as CEOs that used to be players. I’m a hybrid, and different altogether. I hope that provides unique value to OG.”
Luna’s ambition is more than just creating compelling content and ensuring his players are seen as stars, he has to handle the full scope of being a CEO. Whether that’s an expansion overseas or raising funds, the latter of which is on the horizon.
“OG is perhaps the last super brand that has never received external funding,” Luna said. “We will be going out to market soon for the first time, and we will be looking for the right partner that wants to work with us on this project and wants to join the family. I honestly think it is a tremendous opportunity and OG has a huge potential for growth.”
This appointment signals a new era of OG. Expanding into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was foreign territory, but this is of another scale – the organisation will go from being run mostly by players to having dedicated roles filled by those external to the teams. Luna is keen to keep the essence that makes OG beloved by many, and that goes beyond winning the biggest tournament in esports twice over.
“We are very excited about what the future holds for OG,” said Luna. “I feel very optimistic about what we can all achieve together with Johan, Sébastien, Charlie, and Xavier, as well as the extraordinary players and staff we have in OG.”