Galaxy Racer to exit Fortnite esports following NA layoffs, promises to find EU GXR Elite players a new home and pay Mamabenjyfishy what she’s owed, new 2024 project announced

GXR Elite Galaxy Racer logo

Dubai-headquartered esports and gaming organisation Galaxy Racer are leaving Fortnite esports and letting go of their EU-based GXR Elite players.

They also told Esports News UK they are in talks with several orgs to help find their GXR Elite team a new home, including players Queasy (Serbia) and Malibuca (Russia), and manager Zenko (Italy).

They also have Reddysh on board as a content creator – we’ve asked what will happen to her when the team leaves, and will update this article when we hear back.

Galaxy Racer signed British streamer Mamabenjyfishy, the mother of Fortnite-turned-Valorant pro player Benjyfishy, two years ago. She announced she was no longer a part of the org a few months ago, and Galaxy Racer said they will pay her what she’s owed.

Walid Singer, Global Chief of Staff at Galaxy Racer, told Esports News UK: “We had Mamabenjyfishy [signed to us]. Her contract ended and we agreed on a final payment plan with her. She was owed a certain amount that was settled 30 days ago. And there’s another amount being scheduled for her in the next week, which will settle all her amounts.”

We reached out to Mamabenjyfishy for clarification and will update this article if we receive comment.

We’ve also reached out to the players and former content creators for their views.

Arab, a former GXR Elite content creator who left over a year ago, sent Esports News UK this comment on Galaxy Racer: “Fuck those rats.”

A freelancer also came forward after the publication saying they hadn’t been paid what they were promised. We’ve reached out to the org to clarify.

The GXR Elite news comes a few days after Galaxy Racer laid off staff in their North American division, as reported by The Esports Advocate, following mass emails sent from an anonymous address criticising the company to press and investors over the org’s delayed payments. The company also closed their women-focused ‘Her Galaxy’ operations.

Galaxy Racer are now refocusing on MENA and India, content creation in NA, plus a sports initiative with La Liga and a new gaming project due in 2024 (see further down).

‘We had a great run in Fortnite, but in the end it’s business’ – Galaxy Racer on dropping their GXR Elite roster

Walid Singer, Global Chief of Staff at Galaxy Racer, told Esports News UK: “In regards to Fortnite and the GXR Elite roster, we do want to exit Fortnite. We’ve had a great run in Fortnite and I’m a fan of the game. We signed a few players in an extremely strategic and well-played out strategy to get the best of the best. And they ended up being the best of the best, we’re on top in Europe. 

“I love the boys, I love the game, I’m a Fortnite player myself. What we’re trying to do is we’re in talks with a few teams, because I want to find them a home, honestly. We don’t want to close this down and get out of Fortnite before we can find them a team, for all three of them: Zenko, Queasy and Malibuca.

“We got on a call with the boys a month ago and I explained all this. I wish we had more bandwidth to take bets in Fortnite but we need to focus on other things, and I want to find them a team.

“It’s been great having this roster and engaging with Fortnite, but the landscape changed and the reality is teams are exiting the game. ROI is a big factor in that. People can buy advertising in-game now, so why would brands put a logo on a jersey, when you can get 100m players seeing what you want to do [in the game]? 

Walid Singer, Galaxy Racer, on GXR Elite

“We’ve invested so much in Fortnite, we don’t consider it a loss, because we’ve done really well on an exposure level, we’ve had great events and incredible results – the players have been amazing. But in the end it’s business.

“We’re undergoing a massive corporate restructure on a global scale [Galaxy Racer’s merger with RTE to form Celestial, as detailed by Esports Insider]. Galaxy Racer has invested in a lot of things over the past four years, we explored a lot of verticals, avenues and businesses and regions. And now we’ve reached a point where we know what works and what doesn’t. We have an incredible 15+ years ahead of us, and need to make sure we’re going with the right model.

“We’re not leaving esports, we have our entities who know what they’re doing, but we’re scaling back on it and mainly in North America.”

Galaxy Racer refocuses strategy following layoffs, delayed payments and mass emails criticising the org

It’s not been a good few months for Galaxy Racer. The organisation were not paying staff in their North American arm on time, which led to a string of emails sent to press, creators and investors from an anonymous email address.

In an email sent on September 11th 2023, the anonymous user said the team were ‘six weeks behind on pay again’, and that they were speaking to a class action lawsuit attorney. They also claimed that GXR influencer Noor Stars was owed £1m in brand campaigns, and the Nigma Galaxy esports team were owed more than $5m.

The emails took shots at Galaxy Racer Group CEO Paul Roy in particular, and alleged that GXR were ‘giving special privilege to the men some months and paying them, while the women have to wait’.

Galaxy Racer refuted all the allegations and claims made in the email, adding: “Equal rights are at the forefront of our values. We unequivocally reject any allegations of discrimination, especially on the basis of gender. We are proud to be the leading supporter and investor globally of initiatives that promote gender equality in the esports industry.”

Walid Singer, Global Chief of Staff at Galaxy Racer, told ENUK: “We’re having this overhaul across the board triggered by a merger with our parent company, but that restructure in essence involves closure of companies, opening of companies, establishments of LLCs, closures of bank accounts, opening of bank accounts, and we anticipate this will kind of last until the end of December 2023, not more than that.  

“All of these delays only started at the end of June. We’ve had an incredible track record over the past four years, these recent delays are happening because of banking back-end things.”

ENUK understands there may have also been issues around payments to GXR’s Russian CS female roster due to banks’ sanctioning of Russia.

The emails continued, eventually claiming the team were three months without pay.

Last week, Galaxy Racer laid off staff in their North American division, as mentioned. The Esports Advocate published the following:

The anonymous emailer said ‘Galaxy Racer turned off our emails mid-Zoom while we were learning of this shut down, and we have been told we dont get pay until we turn over our computers’.

This was later spoken about publicly elsewhere on Twitter:

Galaxy Racer said payments to the outgoing employees were made in full, four hours before the 11 layoffs were made.

Walid Singer, Global Chief of Staff at Galaxy Racer, said: “We’ve had delayed payments, but no one has been left unpaid, and there never will be. The person who sent those emails, we knew it was impossible for it to be someone [currently] at Galaxy Racer. Whoever it is, they’re out there to get us and they’re going to fabricate a lot of things. We’re still operating as a company and still doing so much.

“When we made the layoffs last Thursday, we had to deactivate everyone’s emails. When someone is laid off, you cut off access to their emails for security reasons and other reasons. We had a call, a Q&A session, a HR rep and finance rep on the call. The call dropped for one minute and we picked it up on Slack again and explained it all.”

Which different entities does Galaxy Racer have? Changes announced including new gaming vertical for 2024

Galaxy Racer launched in 2019 and went on to strike a number of partnerships with different entities, including a merger with Team Nigma in 2021 to form Nigma Galaxy.

In early 2020 Galaxy Racer formed the first female League of Legends team based in the United Arab Emirates. They played at the GirlGamer 2020 event (which is also owned by Galaxy Racer). This year, GirlGamer 2023 saw UK League of Legends player Delicate feature in the World Finals.

The organisation also have a partnership with footballer Diogo Jota for MENA-based Luna Galaxy (see the section below), plus GXR Elite, the Fortnite team they’re dropping.

While Galaxy Racer are now focused on the MENA region and India, they’re refocusing towards content creation in North America, with former YouTube exec Joyce Ajouri as director of operations. This will cover talent, influencers, media, events and broadcast.

They also have a sports vertical partnership with Spanish football league La Liga, to manage its media rights across MENA and the Indian sub-continent.

“In esports in the past year and a half to two years, we’ve seen the downfall – as a whole industry it started to crumble past the post-covid hype. So we’re focusing less on esports and more on gaming.”

Walid Singer, Galaxy Racer

Finally, there’s a new project Galaxy Racer is working on for 2024.

Walid Singer, Global Chief of Staff at Galaxy Racer, told ENUK: “So as a business, we started focusing less on esports and more on gaming. We’re investing in an incredible project coming out in 2024. It’s a gaming vertical we’re extremely excited about that we’ve been building up for across the board.

“[On Nigma and Luna] these are separate entities, we fund them, we consult, but at a certain point we let them be. And they need to self-sustain. We assign founders and CEOs, they have their own budgets, P&Ls, commercial goals and KPIs. We like that model, we didn’t want to get our hands too dirty in esports as an organisation because we wanted to do multiple facets of media – esports was one of them. With esports we wanted to work with the best and we wanted them to work independently.

“There’s something we say in Arabic: “Just give your bread to the baker even if he’s gonna eat half of it.”

“In esports in the past year and a half to two years, we’ve seen the downfall – as a whole industry it started to crumble past the post-covid hype. Thankfully Paul had an incredible vision and got into sports. And we partnered with La Liga for a joint venture that runs for 15 years, which has just started. That joint venture manages the entire media rights of La Liga across MENA and the Indian sub-continent. The revenue generation of that is over €160m per year, just for the broadcast/media rights, without sponsorship. The transaction is around €3bn for 15 years, and the revenue starts in 2024.”

Galaxy Racer’s partnerships with Premier League footballers and other UK links

Back in July, it was announced that Liverpool footballer Diogo Jota had invested in Galaxy Racer, with his own org Diogo Jota Esports rebranding to Luna Galaxy.

And two years ago, the Galaxy Racer Aubameyang Cup was announced, pitting Europe against the Middle East in a cross-regional Fortnite tournament named after former Arsenal footballer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is a shareholder of GXR’s.

A source told us UK-based PR agency Swipe Right PR were still owed money by Galaxy Racer, however we understand Swipe Right has been paid.

Walid Singer, Global Chief of Staff at Galaxy Racer, said: “We paid Swipe Right a long time ago.”

As well as the GXR Elite news, the organisation also promised Mamabenjyfishy will be paid what she’s owed ‘in the next week’.

Galaxy Racer’s Paul Roy is also involved with UK-based streaming platform company Recast (through GXR shareholder RTE) which recently relaunched after entering administration and being saved.

Walid Singer, Global Chief of Staff at Galaxy Racer, said: “Recast is completely separate to Galaxy Racer, it has a heap of investors and shareholders and celebrities, [our shareholder] RTE is just one of many.”

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