By Zane Bhansali
"Team Bumble" is about to become Fortnite's first all-female pro team.
Gen.G is teaming up with Bumble, the women-first social and dating app, to bring the team together. The initial roster of "Gen.G Empowered by Bumble" (the team's official name) will include current members of the esport organization's Fortnite roster, including Kristen "KittyPlays" Valnicek, Madison "maddiesuun" Mann, Tina "TINARAES" Perez, Carlee "Carlee" Gress, and Hannah "Hannah" Reyes.
Bumble has also announced an individual partnership with Valnicek, who was hired as Gen.G's head of new gaming initiatives in October. Valnicek boasts a community of over 600,000 subscribers on YouTube and organizes her own network of women gamers and streamers, #TeamKitty.
This announcement came just weeks after the conclusion of the first-ever Fortnite World Cup. While the World Cup featured women in its Creative Cup and Pro-Am competition, not a single woman qualified for the 200 available spots in Solos and Duos competition, sparking a conversation about the question of gender equality in esports.
Gen.G CEO Chris Park said that they intend for their new partnership with Bumble to "strengthen platforms for women" and create "more inclusive, supportive environments in which all passionate esports athletes can compete and connect."
In addition to their partnership with Gen.G, Bumble has further ventured into the gaming sphere by adding a "gaming" badge for subscribers on the app's premium service, Bumble BFF. Users will be able to add the badge to their profiles and use it to filter matches. Gen.G and Bumble will also be co-developing merchandise for both Team Bumble and other Gen.G teams.
Gen.G currently fields rosters in "Apex Legends", "PUBG", "League of Legends", "Clash Royale", "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4", and Blizzard's Overwatch League, where the team competes as the Seoul Dynasty.