In the wake of an open letter from players protesting the Professional eSports Association's alleged plan to boycott the upcoming ESL Pro League season, Immortals CEO and PEA Player Relations Committee Member Noah Whinston has announced that players will be given the decision to participate in either the PEA's league or EPL.
"I sympathize with the players’ sentiments around not feeling more included in the decision-making process and I acknowledge that we could and should have done better. That’s why, in good faith, we’re going to give this decision to them," he said. "We’ll arrange a meeting with all of the players ASAP to discuss this and answer questions, so that they can decide as a unified body whether they want to participate in EPL or PEA next season."
While Whinston says PEA will not be an exclusive league, concerns over over-saturation in the CS:GO scene led PEA to attempt a compromise with WESA, which represents the EU teams of EPL, wherein EPL would leave North America but the top four teams from PEA and EPL would meet in a cross-Atlantic championship. According to Whinston, WESA declined the offer. Because of that, Whinston says that PEA are unwilling to throw their hat in an already crowded scene and further curtail the time their players have to stream and meet sponsor obligations.
"I believe every author of the player letter wants to participate in the PEA league, as well as EPL. Unfortunately, that option is not on the table," he said. "If the only option for the PEA is to lose money by functioning as yet another year-round CSGO league, we’ll instead devote the PEA league’s resources to other game titles where over-saturation is less of a problem."
While Whinston admits PEA could have done better including players in the decision-making process, orgs ultimately reserve final say in what events and tournaments their players attend.
"It would not make sense for a roster of players to decide what tournaments to participate in, while representing the organization and emblazoned with its intellectual property," he said. "Perhaps the most surprising part of the player letter is that this basic fact is treated as new information. Athletes have always been part of the conversation surrounding the events in which a team decides to compete, but the power to make a final decision always resides with the organization."
However, he insists that players would not be getting the short end of the stick, providing a detailed breakdown of how PEA's $750,000 prize pool plus each players minimum guaranteed profit of $31,250 and health insurance would make up for sitting out EPL.
"The addition of $250,000 in minimum guaranteed profits (MG) will provide a strong baseline of compensation for players and a preview of what’s coming in the future when the PEA league is operating profitably," Whinston said. "Teams at the bottom will more than double their compensation and even the top teams will see significant compensation bumps."
You can read the Whinston's letter in its entirety here.
Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.