The ongoing sage with the Professional eSports Association took another turn Friday with the release of the association’s response to the letter produced Wednesday by Scott “SirScoots” Smith on the players’ behalf.
Jarek “DeKay” Lewis had the chance to send questions following the release of that statement to representatives from PEA. Their answers are below. (Editor’s note: For full disclosure, the questions were sent at 1 p.m. ET and the answers given at about 5:30 p.m. ET)
Jarek “DeKay” Lewis: The players said they were told “things change” regarding PEA. What exactly changed and when?
Jason Katz: We had a series of individual meetings with all of the CSGO teams to discuss the economics of the ecosystem, the over-saturation of the marketplace, their workload and the overall demands being made on the resources of the organizations as a result. The “things change” comment wasn’t about any policy change or about how decisions are made. The context was that, since the original PEA announcement, sponsors and broadcast partners (who write the checks) and others have expressed increasing concern about the economics of the marketplace. These were not concerns that had been expressed to us previously to the same degree. The organizations always have consulted players about their commitments, but esports is highly fluid and its realities are ever-changing. But to say that “things change” in esports is an understatement!
Jarek Lewis: As explained in the letter, you turned down the offer for revenue sharing with WESA for a co-produced LAN final due to the terms offered. Are you guys still open to negotiating these terms? Or are those talks permanently off the table?
Jason Katz: When the players released their public letter, discussions were still ongoing with WESA and MTG. Our goal has been to create a better league for NA players and organizations but still have the trans-Atlantic championship. If there’s a solution (that) is best for all stakeholders, of course we’re open to talk.
Jarek Lewis: In the original press release for PEA you mentioned that “Each caster will receive a share equal to a player.” Today in your letter, I haven’t seen that mentioned when the payouts and profit sharing are mentioned. Is that still something PEA plans to offer? If not, how come?
Jason Lake: It is absolutely the intention of the organizations to share profits with all on-air talent, including casters and analysts. We formed a Rules Committee to develop the PEA league rules alongside the player representatives and issues of profit-sharing with casters/analysts are still on the agenda to be decided because we need player input. We’re looking forward to figuring this out with the players if they want to move forward.
Jarek Lewis: Rumors have circulated about the operating platform PEA will use, citing “PGL” as the selected organization. Is this in fact true?
Jason Lake: Yes, we have been talking to PGL to be our tournament operations partner for Season 1 and we’re extremely confident the group would help produce an amazing league for both players and fans.
Jarek Lewis: In the letter, you state “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.” Is this statement a direct result of the brush back? What did it take to come to that compromise?
Jason Lake: It’s really about giving the players more of a role in decision-making in this one particular case. As we’ve said repeatedly, participating in three online leagues on top of all the other commitments just doesn’t make sense and if the players feel so strongly about Pro League, then they can play in it; we can’t make a huge investment of effort and money into something which benefits organizations and players if it’s just more over-saturation. The goal was always to give players more voice and include them in a more meaningful way. By allowing the players to choose which league they’d prefer to participate in, we feel we’re behaving in a way consistent with those objectives. A core principle of PEA is to add value to the scene and, if that isn’t going to work out in CSGO, then we’re excited to invest in other game titles to add value to those communities.
Cover photo: Screenshot