For months now, the eSports scene was buzzing, change was in the air. Starting with the creation of WESA and exacerbated by Riot’s mounting PR problems, it was brought home that nothing needs to change. The org owner’s answer to the problem? More control and profit sharing for the teams which play in tournaments. While it’s not an option in League of Legends due to Riot Games’ chokehold on the Competitive scene, as reported by numerous sources like Thorin, MonteCristo, and Richard Lewis, the teams decided to get their start in CS:GO. As a result, the formation of PEA, Professional Esports Association, was announced.
What IS PEA? Well, the spelling is all wrong, but there are those green things, you eat them… No, seriously, it’s a League, similar to the National Basketball Association, where teams have a permanent spot and equity in the league, playing a season, and sharing the profit among the players, the talent, and the owners, which is what’s missing from the League of Legends Championship Series in the first place. I might be beating a dead horse here, but I have a very strong suspicion, that PEA is TSM, C9, CLG, Liquid, and Immortals’ way to show Riot what they’re missing on by creating their own version of LCS in another game and making it more successful than Riot’s league. It’s pure conjecture, though.
Anyway, so far, the teams participating will be TSM, Cloud9, Team Liquid, Immortals, Counter Logic Gaming, compLexity, and NRG Esports. The inaugural tournament is reported to begin in January 2017 by dailydot.com/esports. It’s said that the prize pool will be $1M, split over 2 seasons, which will last 10 weeks each, with matches being played twice each week. Additionally to the prize money, players and talent will share 50% of the league’s profits, while owners will take the rest, shared equally as well.
While the whole initiative is very admirable, there is a problem. NA Counter-Strike is less… good than it is in Europe. NA teams don’t have many opportunities to win when strong EU teams participate. This initiative by the biggest NA orgs could be interpreted as a way for NA teams to create a league where they can grow their fanbase and make money without having to compete in international tournaments, where they usually suffer some humiliation with several notable exceptions. I am not putting the whole region down, it’s just a fact, CS is much more popular in Europe, which makes for a bigger pool of talented players.
Whatever the case may be, any way to create order, and profit sharing, approaching traditional sports, is a good thing, especially when that might actually help eSports teams become more attractive to mainstream investors, which should help eSports reach a new level of mainstream acceptance.