Los Angeles, CA– February 22, 2008– With the Championship Gaming Series (CGS) 2008 North American Combine and Draft set for March 7-9, the league today announced its official list of North American Franchise Players. Each of the Franchise Players has been selected by their respective General Managers as the cornerstone of their team’s 2008 roster. CGS Franchise Players are chosen on the basis of superior performance, skills, and leadership during the previous season.
The 2008 CGS Franchise Players for North America are:
San Francisco Optx: Vanessa“Vanessa” Arteaga– (Dead or Alive 4): Arteaga is widely regarded as the world’s top woman gamer. After making history as the #1 pick in the first round of the inaugural CGS Draft in 2007, Arteaga went on to lead San Francisco Optx as the only CGS player to go undefeated throughout the 2007 regular season and achieved the highest positive point differential of any CGS player worldwide (60 points for, 8 points against). At the 2007 CGS World Final, Arteaga blew away the competition to capture the Individual World Final Championship in DOA4 Women’s. Vanessa, 20, was born and raised in Modesto, California.
Chicago Chimera: Jeremy“BlackMamba” Florence– (Dead or Alive 4 - Men’s): Florence is the world’s top-ranked Dead or Alive 4 player. He dominated the competition at the CGS 2007 World Final, leading Chicago Chimera to victory as the first-ever CGS World Champion team and recipients of the Dew Trophy and $500,000 in prize money. As a result, Florence was declared the 2007 World Final MVP. With his winnings from the 2007 playoffs and his bonus from helping lead Chicago to its 2007 regular-season first-place finish, Florence was easily the highest-paid professional gamer in North America in 2007. Florence, 20, is from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Los Angeles compLexity: Danny“fRoD” Montaner– (Counter-Strike: Source): Montaner is globally recognized as one of the best CS players in history. Among his many pro gaming accomplishments and honors, he led the legendary L.A. compLexity team to a first-place finish in the 2007 CGS Individual World Final. A key member of compLexity since 2004, Montaner provides key leadership for the team with his dedication, raw skill, and unparalleled statistical portfolio. Montaner, 21, hails from Miami, Florida and currently resides in Dallas, Texas.
Carolina Core: Ryan“Offbeat Ninja” Ward– (Dead or Alive 4 -Men’s): During last year’s inaugural season of CGS in North America, Ward was the region’s top-performing DOA4 Men’s player, setting a blazing pace with 16 consecutive wins, finished second in the 2007 Individual World Finals, won Tecmo’s Itagaki Challenge, and played an integral role in Carolina Core’s $150,000 second-place finish at the CGS 2007 World Final. Ward, 20, hails from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
New York 3D: Matt“Wizakor” Wood– (FIFA 08): Wood led the New York 3D team in the 2007 season with fierce dedication and passion for sports and EA’s FIFA 07 game. In 2007, Wood took home top honors as the first-place finisher in the North America regular season, then dominated the global competition at the 2007 World Final and captured the title of CGS Individual World Champion in FIFA 07. Wood, 22, currently lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
Emmanuel“Master” Rodriguez– Dallas Venom (Dead or Alive 4): Rodriguez is one of the dominant players in the history of the DOA series. After winning twice in a row at the heralded Championship Gaming Invitational tournaments in 2006, Rodriguez was the first pick by Dallas Venom in the 2007 North American Draft and remains a hometown hero for the Dallas team. Rodriguez, 22, is a lifelong resident of Dallas, Texas.
The Franchise Players represent one of three player classifications announced for the 2008 season. In addition to the single Franchise Player for each North American team, each General Manager will choose up to four Protected Players whose identities will be revealed on the eve of the 2008 Draft in Austin set for March 9. These four players will remain on their respective teams for the 2008 season; the remaining five members of each team will be released into the general draft pool, where they will join the Combine participants. At the Draft, each GM will select five Drafted Players to complete their team rosters from the general draft pool.
CGS players in 2008 will receive compensation according to their new classification: Franchise Player, Protected Player, or Drafted Player.
The 2008 North American Combine and Draft will take place March 7-9 at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival’s ScreenBurn Arcade in Austin, Texas. More information can be found on: thecgs.com.
About Championship Gaming Series
Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, the Championship Gaming Series™ (CGS) is the only worldwide professional video gaming league. Launched in 2007, and a joint venture among BSkyB, DIRECTV and STAR, CGS features teams of the world's best gamers from North America, Latin America, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. The league distributes entertainment content to more than 350 million viewers worldwide via DIRECTV in North America and Latin America, BSkyB in the UK, and STAR in Asia and Australia. CGS sponsors include Mountain Dew, Creative, Xbox 360 and Dell XPS.