Jack Etienne, CEO of Cloud 9: a Profitable Businessman’s Making an Esports Franchise



The Esports market is growing every day but is still seen as an unstable venture in the eyes of the public. Unlike the traditional sports that have grown popular among the public over the course of their long history, Esports has only been around for so long and has a few drawbacks. One such drawback being the fact that the games involved are copyrighted IPs owned by developers; this is why there have been many Esports teams whose careers end up being short-lived.

Not all teams meet that fate, however, as there are teams that manage to grow and gain fans while staying active in the Esports scene; the ones that have developed their own history are usually considered prodigious teams. In the case of South Korea, it would be SKT T1 and KT Rolster, and in the EU, it would be Fnatic; in NA, it is Cloud 9.

Currently, C9 has teams for a variety of titles, including League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone, and Overwatch. Not only do they have a fair number of teams, but their results have placed them among the top teams for these titles and they are popular with many fans. C9 is actually in competing with Echo Fox for the 1st and 2nd place in this year’s NA LCS Spring Split, so they are highly favored to win and make it to the MSI.


▲ C9 shows no mercy in the NA LCS- they’ve been aiming for the top, refusing to let up against any opponent. (Image from Riot Games)


Of course, C9 was not always the powerhouse they are today - their LoL team, which is considered one of the most powerful teams now, did not receive much praise early on. Their CS: GO team, which recently won in the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018, had been treated as an underdog until early last year.

It was the same for Overwatch League this year- C9 created the London Spitfire, which was franchised to London even though they were a team based in NA. The London Spitfire was rather underrated compared to Seoul Dynasty, which basically was comprised of Lunatic-Hai members, and the Dallas Fuel, which was made up of former EnVyUs members. However, they were the one that ended up winning the title match in Stage 1.

C9 started from a comparatively low point but began to rise to the top thanks to their hard work. Of course, their success would not have happened without the efforts of the co-founder and CEO of Cloud 9, Jack Etienne.


▲ Jack Etienne, the owner of Cloud 9.


Jack Etienne was a profitable businessman in the software and web-related industry when he first set foot in the world of Esports. This all happened when he had an encounter with Team SoloMid, one of the prodigious teams in NA. From then on, Etienne became a fan of Esports, and eventually turned his passion into his work. Quite often, people lose enthusiasm when the thing that they love becomes something obligatory, but this was not the case for Jack Etienne; that much is evident after seeing how far he’s come since C9 was established.

Of course, what he has achieved with C9 has not been solely because of his “fan’s heart”, for he also possesses the reasoned mindset of a businessman; he managed to get a 2.5 million dollar crowdfunding investment from organizations including the WWE and individual investors at the end of last year. Etienne also has shown great dedication when it comes to taking care of his players. Ray, a former member of C9, picked Jack Etienne as one of the people he was most comfortable talking to when he was dealing with the language barrier on the team.

“As far as being terse goes, C9 Ray is on the quiet side, especially when meeting new people. I kept telling him that he has to talk to other native speakers if he wants to improve. When I asked him who he felt most comfortable talking with, he told me it was Jack, the team’s owner. Ray often talks to Jack because that’s who he feels the most comfortable with, which is unheard of in Korea” - from an interview with Sophie Ahn, the English tutor for NA LCS players, June 2017.


▲ He is like a friendly older brother to the players.


Jack Etienne has successfully led his team to be one of the top teams in NA Esports, but he is still eager to see his team get even greater results on the world stage. C9 is an NA team that has made it into the League of Legends World Championship the past few years, but they want to be one of the top teams in the world, not just in NA.

“Winning in NA would be great, but that is not our true goal. There has always been this certain type of focus that our team has gotten at Worlds. The hunger to learn, and the hunger to get better. In prior years when we came back to NA, we lose that hunger. We don’t get it again until we are at Worlds. We started to think ‘What if we had that same hunger we have at Worlds here in NA?'” - from an interview with Jack Etienne in February 2018.

Jack Etienne has a lot of passion and hope when it comes to Esports, and will be joining Inven Global’s first Esports conference in order to speak about the future vision he holds for the industry that he cares for so much. Owners of other teams like Immortals and Team Liquid will also be speaking at the IGEC-ESPORTS DEEP DIVE along with Etienne on May 1st at UC Irvine. 

◆ Jack Etienne's Congratulatory Message for the IGEC




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