With the increasing demand for the ethical treatment of its competitors, the North American competitive scene created a coalition that puts the player first. The Professional eSports Association (PEA) was announced today, coupled with a $1 million dollar prize pool Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament. The tournament will begin in January 2017. The organization was created by several North American teams, including Team SoloMid (TSM), Cloud9, Team Liquid, Counter Logic Gaming (CLG), Immortals, NRG eSports, and compLexity Gaming.
The PEA Comissoner, Jason Katz has said that the organization represents “something new in eSports – an association of top teams running their own league and sharing the profits and the decision-making with the players.” He continued, saying that “This has been the architecture of traditional major sports leagues for many decades, but it is a new evolution for eSports. This will allow us to finally build a stable, healthy, long-term environment for the players, the community, the media, and the sponsors.”
Other owners of professional teams have also been vocal over their excitement for the organization’s founding. As the CEO of Cloud9, Jack Etienne has described the current state of professional gaming as “the Wild West” due to the instability of paychecks, regulations, and long-term commitment to their players. “The community and players want stability and dependability”, Etienne said. “Leagues come and go, teams join them and depart, but with the PEA, the teams are making a long-term commitment to be here, playing for the fans, for the indefinite future.”
The PEA is determined to create a beneficial system for their players in order to curb mistreatment and abuse from leagues. For the first time ever, players and owners alike will share fifty-percent of their profits, with broadcasters to receive a share equivalent to the players. The PEA will also support retirement funds, investment planning, and health insurance for their players. In addition to the financial aspect, the PEA claims they want to give the players an “authoritative voice” in the leagues they partake in. Representatives of teams will have chairs on a Rules Committee to discuss and determine fair play, competition structures, and prize distribution. This will also include a Grievance Committee for players with qualms with the league, as an avenue to ensure players are heard.
The CEO of TSM, Andy Dinh is often at the forefront of proper treatment of professional players. He says that it is “time for leagues to share the rewards and strategic decisions with the players”, and that the best way for team organizations to do that is for us to do it ourselves. The PEA is a vehicle for us to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the players, doing what we all love.”
The Counter-Strike tournament will be streamed live, twice a week for ten consecutive weeks. The competition will have a prize pool of at least $1 million for the first year, with $500,000 for Season 1.
If you wish to learn more, check out www.proesports.org.