ShahZam weighs in on keeping “Salary transparency” an uncommon practice in Esports
Valorant esports is experiencing a chilly winter as VCT Americas faces a reduction in spending across the board. Unfortunately, this means that players' salaries are taking a hit. Reports say that Evil Geniuses, the Valorant Champions 2023 winners, may have to accept a pay cut or explore other options. As a result, people are discussing the topic of player salaries and how much organizations should spend on them.
According to Alex Gonzalez, head of Luminosity, the discussion around esports player salaries is more straightforward than it seems. He believes that the wages of pro players should be lowered compared to the revenue generated by the team. Another issue that has come up is the lack of transparency in player contracts. Unlike traditional sports, the community cannot access information regarding a player's salary. It's a topic that has been widely debated and sparked much interest among esports enthusiasts.
A lot of talks throughout the community about whether an “esports team” can be profitable in 2023, the answer is yes, 100%.
What will not be profitable is the *traditional* esports team format that we have seen for the last 10 years.
— Alex Gonzalez (@AlexGLogics) January 20, 2023
ShahZam Prefers The Way Things Are
ShahZaM, the veteran who played for Sentinels and now streams for G2 Esports, has recently shared his perspective on pay transparency on social media. With years of experience in esports, starting from CS:GO in 2013 and moving on to Valorant in 2020, ShahZaM believes that players are already quite open with each other when discussing pay rates, which helps understand the market.
However, when sharing this information with fans, ShahZaM is concerned that it could be weaponized. He points out that pro sports have salary caps that make things different, but most esports players are young individuals in a volatile career that may not provide long-term security.
I disagree, players are already open with each other to help understand the market (as they should be) but fans would only weaponize it. pro sports are different, salary caps play a role.
These are mostly young kids in a volatile career that won’t set them up for life
— G2 ShahZaM (@ShahZaMk) September 12, 2023
In the United States, several mainstream sports have a salary cap restricting how much teams can pay their players. Furthermore, a player's union decides player salaries and team budgets. It's still being determined whether fans will benefit from having access to salary information due to the limited number of organizations that have disclosed their financial details publicly.
During Henry ‘HenryG' Greer's tenure as General Manager of Cloud9, the organization attempted to provide transparency regarding the salary situation of their CS:GO roster. However, this initiative was eventually discontinued after HenryG departed from the organization.
Despite the initial effort, Cloud9 ultimately decided not to continue this practice.
Traditional sports fans already take shots at players for underperforming while being highly paid. Whether that would be more intense or more damaging to young esports competitors can only be speculated.
It's no secret that traditional sports fans aren't shy about criticizing players who don't live up to their high salaries. But what about esports athletes? Would they face even harsher scrutiny and criticism from fans? It's hard to say, but it's something to consider.
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