Today in eSports news, a massive union was announced. Consisting of a owner-operated league, Team SoloMid, Cloud9, Team Liquid, Counter Logic Gaming, Immortals, NRG eSports and compLexity Gaming were announced as the founding organizations of the Professional eSports Association.
I'm not going to unveil new news, I'm not going to join in and recreate an announcement article, I'm going to get down to the meat of the conversation. Why the Professional eSports Association will work, when others have tried but ultimately failed.
Established brands backing the association
What makes this association substantial to begin with? It's a simple answer, the founding organizations. The bread and butter of any union, association, league — without them, you're going to battle against stacked professionals and stacked alliances. In this case, the proof is in the pudding.
The aforementioned organizations are fierce, gold standard, and tenured teams in their own rights. Lets look at them from a top-down perspective.
Managed by Jack Etienne, Cloud9 field multiple rosters across multiple titles. North America's lovable son, filled with tier one competitors and personalities amassing a large influence in their region and internationally, with fielding star athletes like n0thing, ACHES, mang0, and KYKY. From players to support staff, Cloud9 is one of the biggest, if not the biggest brand in eSports today.
Managed by Andy Dinh, a tenured eSports owner with an established record, from player-to-owner, the TSM organization was one of the original LCS teams that have grown to set gold standards for the industry at large. Fielding star athletes like Bjergsen, Semphis, Trump, and Leffen. It's no surprise to see TSM choose to join up with Cloud9. They compliment one another.
Managed by Victor Goossens and Steve Arhancet, Team Liquid rose to fame through community foundations, eventually making its way into the competitive scene of eSports. The liquid brand is an embodiment of high quality content, players, business ethics and community. Fielding star athletes like Hiko, Piglet, Hungrybox, and Ret. Again, no surprise to see TL choose to join up with veteran friendly rivals such as C9 and TSM.
Counter Logic Gaming:
Managed by Devin Nash, CLG rose to fame similarly to those mentioned above: Household eSports brands fighting for the coveted LCS champion title week after week. It was started by George Georgallidis, otherwise known as hotshotgg or guy-who-lost-a-bet-and-painted-his-hair-pink (don't hate me). Fielding star athletes like Aphromoo, hazed, SFAT, and missharvey are on board, too.
Managed by Noah Whinston, first of the newest pair of eSports' organizations to join the fray. Immortals, an organization brought together by venture capitalists, angel investors from sports to the media. A byproduct of a show of commitment to the industry. Fielding star athletes like Wildturtle, Boltz, Pobelter, and Huni are on board.
Managed by Andrew Pruett, second of the newest pair of eSports' organizations to join the fray. NRG, an organization brought together by more venture capitalists, angel investors who are enthusiasts at heart. Notable investors, hall-of-fame inductee Shaq, MLB legend Jimmy Rollins, and MLB legend Alex Rodriquez. Fielding star athletes like Fugly, yammyn, Amaz, and gob b.
And last but certainly not least;
Managed by Jason Lake, one of the oldest eSports organizations to date. A tenured and proven organization that has laid out the fundamental outlines for personalities, players, and talent. Ladies and gentlemen, I will not lie — I'm a fanboy. I can't say anything bad because truthfully, apart from small, isolated incidents, CompLexity Gaming has helped mold the eSports industry for the better. Fighting a big fight, for them to join an association means they truly see it working and helping out the ecosystem.
Some of these names come from storied adventures in the eSports vertical, some are just starting their adventures, but together they all find one commonality. They aren't messing around when it comes to eSports. They dish out the best support to cultivate success in and out of the game.
This is one of the reasons why this association stands out from the rest.
Stands out from WESA & WESC.. etc. etc.
Many of the "unions" or "associations" that have come out were criticized for their hierarchies, involvements, and lack of transparency on how they operate and why. Not to beat the dead horse with a stick, I'm going to compare WESA to PEA and why it's substantially different.
PEA has already disclosed their motive and how they plan on creating an environment better for players and organizations. No secrecy, no fallacy, just owners looking to facilitate an environment where they are all profiting fairly from their work. Players and organizations are introduced into revenue share programs, players and bodies form committees to talk social and ethical values, growing concerns and so forth.
It's not just a Skype group, they're unifying now.
Stemming from real concerns:
Real problems and real solutions. Yes, the game isn't the best right now, no some rules aren't fair, Jatt or Monte(?), -- but this association helps reform systematical issues we have in eSports. Lack of uniformed rules, lack of committees, lack of structural bodies that help collectively bargain for better pay, more support, and more control in how their lives are affected.
I'm not saying small things don't matter, but if we're looking at the future of eSports, the bigger picture, we must start now. Projected growth of eSports are within the 1.1billion numbers, that's a whole lot of skrilla boys. eSports has fielded some of the most loyal fans ever, communities are dedicated to specifics and details oriented in the vertical of eSports. When they see something they don't like, they'll call your bluff or call you out in general.
WESA wasn't transparent, to this day people assume it's just an ESL cover-up. *ahem*
WESC (Worlds eSports Council) is a relatively unknown name to eSports. They're a group looking for more regulations and ethics in eSports. Like many, people want to see eSports grow responsibly including myself. That's why I created the eSports Initiative Program among the dozens of other workshops or committees out there filled with passionate fans and business owners.
Why it'll only grow from here
Tied to the first point, these names are synonymous to gold standard people operations, management, players, staff and environments in eSports. In a world where news is spoon fed to you on an hourly basis, we tend to forget things, but we never forgive. Allegations of collusion, conflicts of interest, shady businesses has made eSports a bad place to be at times like this ethically speaking.
We're plagued by bad press, which sometimes is out of our control, this is within the spectrum where we can control and influence. All the founding organizations are tied to communities and haven't had bad press like VP, NaVI, or SK Gaming. Why? It's all perception and in a world where you don't get second impressions, it is easier for PEA to stand out for their pros instead of cons.
The more it grows internally, the more you'll see in action. More involvement from publishers who will have to start talking and start cooperating. No more watching the communities like Reddit, HLTV, or Twitch bring up valid discussions and problems just to be ignored, they're now accountable and that's a step in the right direction?
I've got my hunch this goes back to the LCS dilemma and I don't blame them. These organizations have spent time and money working on getting up and running just to potentially lose it all because of one bad season. There needs to be sustainability, increased shares in eSports and this association in a nutshell does just that. CS:GO is the first announced league, but we'll see other titles join the fray as they grow, which they inevitably will, we hope..
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