Kespa teams collude to keep salary cap down

‘Chiu on this’ is a regular and short opinion blast.

On a recent stream, Flash revealed that the Kespa teams had colluded to keep salaries capped at 60k at most for a player. We don’t know the details of collusion, when it started (I assume at the very beginning of SC2), if Blizzard knew about it and let it slide or what exactly happened.  This didn’t raise as much shock and outrage in the community being that they think 60k is a lot, compare it to a normal job out of college and food and accommodation are given.

Here I’ll explain why it is disgusting. If you are one of those people who think playing games for a living and getting 60k is okay, really think about it. First of all there is no way every player got 60k. Only the best players could likely demand that salary. How much is a regular B-teamer compared to say Zest? I’d say at most 1/10 of that so I’d offer him maybe 6k for the year. That’s just speculation, but the point is everyone is under the assumption that 60k was what everyone got, I bet there are players who got paid the minimum wage.

More than that, the average amount of practice from what we know is 8-12 hours a day for 5-6 days a week for the entire year. At the same time people are living in cramped quarters often sharing a room with 3-4 other people. You get food and accommodation, but in Korea no one is ever expelled out of their parent’s house when they hit high school or college, so that’s not as much of a perk when you realize you go from living in your own house with your own family to living with 8-9 other you don’t know.

I’m not saying it’s worse than whatever random job you can think of, but if you can’t see the amount of work players have to go through, then I don’t know what to tell you. Instead just look at every player that burned out in BW and SC2 even before the SC2 scene collapsed in Korea. It is a high stress, highly competitive field with no time to do whatever you want to do.

There is a reason why going onto a foreign team is so appealing, even for players that would get paid less. There is a crazy amount of freedom to do what you want, when you want, to travel to places and to live without being cooped in a can.

And for Superstar players it artificially caps their market value. We know Flash is worth at least 200,000 USD in Korea. We know Jaedong was the same. Despite being from Brood War, the two of them are two of the most well-known players in the entire world. But instead of letting market value dictate how much they’re worth, they created a monopoly to keep costs low.

It’s even worse when you see a player like Bisu get even more money and more freedom just streaming his games.

All I’m saying is have some empathy.

Slingshot senior columnist. StarCraft and CS:GO expert who pushes narratives over numbers. You can reach him at Stephen@Slingshotesports.com

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