The past few weeks have seen several statements and allegations by both sides on the PEA controversy. This post will put together the several statements made in the past few days. Check out the PEA timeline below

What is PEA?

 


The Professional Esports League was announced on September 8, 2016. The  Professional  eSports  Association  (PEA)  is an association of North America’s  elite  professional  eSports team  organizations. Founded in 2016, PEA’s  mission  is  to  create  a united pro eSports association where

Owners and players work together and share profits together while creating the  most compelling and competitive matches for their fans. The league is based in Los Angeles.This post provides a runthrough of the PEA timeline as it happened over the course of the past few weeks. 

Founding Members

 

  • Team Solo Mid
  • Cloud9
  • Team Liquid
  • Counter Logic Gaming
  • Immortals
  • NRG eSports
  • Complexity Gaming

The Professional eSports Association (PEA) is an association of North America’s elite professional eSports organizations. Founded in 2016, PEA’s mission is to create a pro eSports league where owners and players work together to create the most compelling and competitive matches for all eSports fans.

The official Press release heralded PEA as the next step. It would put an end to the ‘Wild West’ Days of eSports in the words of Jack Etienne, CEO, Cloud9.

Features of PEA

  • $1 million Prize pool for First year of operations
  • A closed tournament system
  • Profit Sharing previously unheard of in eSports
  • Owned and operated by member teams
  • Announced to be Non-Exclusive

The beginning

The PEA was set to start in January 2017. But there was pin drop silence about the league. Until the Pin Dropped….

The PEA timeline really starts with a report by Dekay from SlingShoteSports.

The NA eSports industry received a major shock when SlingShoteSports first reported a breaking news.

PEA would outlaw it’s players from playing in the ESL Pro League.The ESL Pro League is a league run by PEA competitor ESL. ESL is involved with eSports since it’s inception in 2000. Over the years, ESL has become a household name in eSports with several international and local tournaments being held worldwide.

When this news first broke out on SlingShoteSports by Dekay on 20th of December 2016; there was an uproar from the community. The players of the participating member teams are of the view that they have a right in choosing which leagues they would be able to play in. However the report suggests that PEA retains the right to over-ride their votes. Furthermore, PEA has not denied this till now. Prominent members of the community verified the truthfulness of the report and found it to be true.

Players Public Letter to PEA

Difficult times bring people together.


Players Union is a topic that is looming large over players for most of the year in 2016. However the diverse nature of players coupled with no real need for a union meant that the Players Union never materialized.

However with PEA threatening to take extreme steps that would change the face of the industry forever, the players got together. They have chosen SirScoots as their representative. SirScoots is a well known personality in the eSports industry. He is a rare example of a person who has always voted for player rights, yet he is free from any type of controversy. 

On the 22nd of December 2016, the players released a public letter via their representative SirScoots.

Despite having SirScoots represent the players, certain Team Owners scheduled meetings on the 7th to 9th of December to try to convince their players personally. While there was nothing wrong in trying to reach out to individual players, it showed an intent to break the union and carry on with PEA. This was despite the fact that the players clearly stated, they did not want to be in an exclusive league as PEA.  

The letter clearly stated the turn of events as they happened. The players had approached PEA before coming out in public with the facts. On raising questions about PEA’s unilateral decision to force them to play in PEA only; they were thrown the rulebook and showed their contracts.

In short, the players felt cheated because they were promised one thing in September. There were rules in the contract that had raised questions, but they were promised that these rules were just technicalities and would not be used to force them to do anything. Indeed the players assumed that they had sufficient voting rights in order to take decisions based on the league. Obviously, that was not true.

The letter was signed by 25 players from 5 of the founding teams.  

PEA respond to Players’ letter

PEA responded to the Players’ letter on 23rd December 2016. The response was written by Noah Winston,  CEO of Immortals and PEA player relations Commitee Member.

The response highlights certain key facts :

1) The intention of the PEA League is to create a better league for both American players and organizations. It is not an exclusive league. The teams will continue competing in non-PEA operated leagues and tournaments.

2) It is not financially viable for organizations to run a PEA CSGO league and also participate in all of the other existing online leagues because of issues with over-saturation.

3) PEA proposed a compromise to WESA to resolve the over-saturation issue, which WESA declined.

4) Though PEA organizations unambiguously have the contractual right to decide where their players compete, the organizations have decided to offer the players the choice to either participate in the PEA league or in the ESL Pro League North American division.

5) Financially, the PEA league offers more money to NA players

6) PEA will give the decision to the players on deciding which league they want to participate in

 

Owners react to the letter

Date – 23rd December 2016

Cloud9 Jack Etienne

Jason Lake

 

CLG Hotshot

 

SirScoots replies to several tweets by Owners

Date : 22,23 December, 2016

 

Owners want players to disown the letter

This was obviously not confirmed from any sources, but if true; it seems as a way to disprove the players integrity by having them voicing differing opinions.


WESA responds to PEA’s allegations

 

 

Richard Lewis on the strong arm of PEA

Richard Lewis talks about how PEA has lured players with false promises. They lured the players with contracts after verbally promising them certain clauses in the contract will not be enforced.

In December, those were the exact clauses that came back to haunt the players. The exclusivity clause would keep players out of all other leagues.

Reginald vs Sean Gares

The controversy escalated to new heights with the debate/argument between TSM Owner Reginald and TSM player Sean Gares.

Sean Gares was signed by TSM on December 15, 2016. Sean is a prominent figure in NA CSGO. His leadership abilities make others look forth to his advice and talks.

Sean Gares was one of the members on the public letter that was published by SirScoots. This letter broke out within a week of Sean Joining TSM organisation. He has maintained his position that he was of the impression the players would have a right to choose which leagues they would play. He had specifically brought up the point during the negotiations and was told not to worry.


Sean Gares removed from TSM Roster

On the 23rd of December 2016, Sean Gares announced that Reginald removed him from the TSM roster due to his connection with the player rights. He posted certain photos which showed private conversations with TSM Owner Reginald.

Reginald gives reasons for removing Sean Gares

Reginald accuses Sean of subduing the players rights  to choose their league in exchange for more money. He accused Sean of accepting terms and conditions which provided him more money and then raising up the matter once the contracts were signed.

It was through twitter that he announced the removal of Sean Gares. Sean Gares would be let off without any buyout clause attached to him.

This public spat between Sean Gares and Reginald made things worse for the entire industry. People started taking sides and there were merits in both the argument.

Here are a few videos explaining the point of view from both sides.

Thoorin

Richard Lewis

Dazed

 

Rest of TSM show solidarity with Sean Gares

In Reginald’s statement, he had approached the other players in the team individually. The other players had confirmed that they were manipulated into signing the players letter by Sean Gares, according to Reginald

However soon after Sean Gares removal, and the public spat between the owner and the player; Relyks put out a unified statement on behalf of all the TSM players.

Relyks clarifies that they were not manipulated by Sean in any ways. The conversation logs that Reginald posted with Shazam were before Sean Gares was released.

The players showed their support for Sean Gares by announcing they would leave TSM if Sean was not a part of the team.

Yet, we have logs of player chats supporting TSM Reginald’s claim. We also have players publicly supporting Sean Gares. Consequently this has created confusion around the issue. Both arguments have merit and the problems have better solutions to them

Most of all, there are screenshots and Shazam, both players of TSM announcing that they will not play without Sean Gares.

https://gyazo.com/f4d0cf9edb82af0bba47784b140cbcf4

https://gyazo.com/6696ef8f8ba8fa69f12fefa7dc7a542d

An Insight into Reginald

In this video, Reginald speaks about how Sean Gares was given an option to choose money or the freedom to choose  leagues that players will play in. Sean Gares allegedly chose the former.

Reginald also explains in detail how the player letter harmed the brand of TSM. He explains how certain sponsors started pulling out of the team and it hurt them financially. Sean Gares was hired to improve the image of TSM, he on the contrary not only harmed the image but also caused them financial losses.

Reginald admits certain mistakes made on his part. He also talks about the Danish TSM roster and why they had to let them go. He talks in details about how players should uphold contract terms which are carefully drafted in order to be beneficial to both players and the organisation.

Sean Gares responds to Reginald’s allegations

Richard Lewis Breaks down the PEA response

 

Players vote for ESL Pro League over PEA

 

The players were asked to vote on the subject of which league they want to play in. The players unanimously voted for ESL Pro League over PEA. This was announced on twitter by SirScoots, the player representative.

SirScoots explains Player’s decision

SirScoots talks about the reasoning behind players choosing ESL over PEA.Especially relevant in the statement is his acceptance of the fact that players should read and sign their contracts correctly.

Finally,the PEA timeline ends with Richard Lewis’ video about PEA vs ESL. He puts out facts that needed to be put in the public domain

 

Finally, PEA is correct in their decision to try for such an exclusive league. With multi million dollar organisations looking to invest into eSports; this was an attempt by certain organisations to maintain their position and market share of the lucrative NA esports scene.

This however comes at the cost of competition and eSports in general will suffer from having a closed environment.

At the same time,  having an open eSports scene only leads to more tournaments being announced. Player fatigue is a big issue in eSports with several top players taking breaks due to physical and mental wear and tear. This proves to be a low Return on for their money on players and that makes organisations lose money.

We definitely need to find a better solution for this as neither system can flourish on it’s own.

PEA suspends CSGO league following Players Vote

According to a report by TheScoreEsports; PEA will be suspending their CSGO league. This comes in wake of the player vote where a unanimous decision to choose EPL over PEA was taken by the players. This vote, along with the community backlash has made PEA rethink their CSGO league.

According to TheScoreEsports, PEA responded to them via email.

Since the time of the original announcement of the PEA CS:GO league, it has become clear to the PEA organizations that there isn’t sufficient financial support in the system, Either from broadcast/streaming partners, sponsors or others, to profitably operate a third prominent online league, due to the oversaturation of the marketplace and the recent upward spiral in operating costs.

WESA is offering a total of 10 percent of EPL’s gross revenue to non-WESA teams, half of which was offered to the PEA teams under the condition that they agree not to run a PEA league for two years and instead commit to the EPL for two years.

“We tried to put together a CS:GO league structure which was innovative and would allow players to help shape operations and execution,” the PEA stated. “This wasn’t our time and we’re looking forward to the future.”