Players choose EPL over PEA

Players of six PEA teams have decided to compete in ESL Pro League over the Professional Esports Association (PEA), effectively ending the two-week long deadlock between the sides.

After some tweets that pointed in the same direction, Scott "SirScoots" Smith has released a medium post confirming that players of Cloud9, CLG, Immortals, NRG, Liquid and TSM voted against playing in the PEA league in favor of EPL.

The first announcement of the PEA league came in September, followed by a long period of radio silence from the group of North American team owners. The PEA vs EPL problem came to the spotlight in December, when SirScoots released his open letter as a representative of 25 players.

Hiko's Liquid will be playing in the next season of EPL after all

Shortly after the release of the open letter, Sean "seang@res" Gares was dropped from TSM, but the remaining North American players were allowed to have the final word on the decision in the end, with the matter of which league to play being put up to a vote.

In the end, six out of seven teams voted to play in ESL Pro League instead of the PEA league. 

"The Counter-Strike players of Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming, Immortals, NRG Esports, Team Liquid, and Team SoloMid have unanimously decided to compete in ESL Pro League (EPL) over the Professional Esports Association (PEA) — a league founded, owned and operated by their team owners. The players have all signed voting documents and proxy communication forms giving me formal permission to relay their decision. What follows is my insight into some of the reasons behind the decision, as well as my own perspective on some of the larger industry issues the players currently face." - SirScoots in his latest post

Smith explained his thoughts on the matter, and those of the players, but pointed out they are all thankful for what the team owners have done in the past.

"While the players have made a clear choice here, I want to reiterate both on their behalf and for myself that we appreciate everything the PEA teams have done for this industry. The result of this vote does not change that. We all recognize that the players’ careers would not be possible without the roles teams play in the industry, and how important it is that teams are able to run their businesses in a way that is financially viable. Our perspective is simply that the best way to make things financially viable — for everyone — is to engage in a truly open, transparent dialogue across the industry as a whole. Right now, we should be focusing on how players, teams, and leagues can work together more closely at the negotiating table, and not on blurring the line between team owner and league operator. In order for all of that to happen, though, the players must first come together on their own. Hopefully, their decision here is a big step in that direction."

In the end, SirScoots hinted at the possibility of doing more player representation in the future:

"For my part personally, I’d like to say the following to all of the players who made this decision: It has been an honor to work with you thus far. As someone who’s been a strong player advocate for my entire career in this industry, I am looking forward to working along side you as we continue to bring more players into the fold."

At the moment, PEA has not released an official statement on the matter.

Professeur writes for and can be found on Twitter.

United States Sean 'seang@res' Gares
Sean 'seang@res' Gares
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Finland neksu 
2017-01-06 02:03
In the end, six out of seven teams were unanimous in their decision
2017-01-06 02:04
Who was the seventh?
2017-01-06 02:44
2017-01-06 02:57
Lol ofc they want PEA to be a thing they're shit.
2017-01-06 02:58
Hahahahaha!!! I can't say they outright suck cause they'd own me, but compared to other pro teams, they're trash LUL
2017-01-06 05:46
United States ImCovati 
I hate when people use the "oh they could kick your ass" argument. I know you weren't but you had to protect yourself from it which is sad. Ofc they could kick your ass. They could kick my ass too. But we're also not sponsored by a well known org that has sent teams to majors before..
2017-01-06 10:12
You dont need to be a baker to know the difference between shit and bread.
2017-01-08 09:55
2017-01-06 02:03
2017-01-06 08:16
I'm not really caught up with the whole thing, why is PEA shit? Of course, it's bad not to give the players any choice but why is the league in itself bad?
2017-01-06 18:47
PEA as far as i know. (not sure tho) PEA didnt allow the teams playing any other leagues sooo, the teams playing PEA will have to only play one league
2017-01-07 08:22
I thought it ended up not being exclusive but I'm not sure
2017-01-07 19:31
It ended up being mutually exclusive. an Either/or choice which would see the players either exclusively play PEA, or not be allowed to play PEA if they chose to play EPL.
2017-01-08 15:46
2017-01-06 02:03
why? they're giving up double cash :o
2017-01-06 10:17
I think it's better for the scene in the long run if the players set the precedent that it isn't okay to try to strong arm them into not participating in a league.
2017-01-06 10:30
But they're just choosing the wrong league out of spite. If they were asked before they would choose PEA If DH & ESL had 2 events clash the teams would choose the event with the highest 8-16 payouts (cos NA)
2017-01-06 13:45
I get that they prefer to feel free, but they're still coming out as the losers along with PEA in this situation as far as I see it. They're saying no to more money while also saying no to less say in the process, and they're doing that in favor of an organisation that is just as eager to dominate the market as PEA is.
2017-01-06 23:45
2017-01-06 02:03
2017-01-06 02:03
Albania JaBoy 
Nice article!
2017-01-06 02:03
Canada 67KAMIJOSH 
3+5=my position,i'm still in the top 10 so i'm fine
2017-01-06 02:04
suNny | 
United States VAZ1R 
2017-01-06 02:03
2017-01-06 02:03
Brazil BuddyINSANE 
2017-01-06 02:03
ok cool
2017-01-06 02:03
2017-01-06 02:03
Singapore cxzleslie 
2017-01-06 02:04
gj. screw pea go epl! xd
2017-01-06 02:04
broky | 
Dominican Republic LoboRD 
WOW what a surprise :OO
2017-01-06 02:04
PEA is a literal failure. Ever since they started they've been having problems. They might as well just deform now.
2017-01-06 02:04
Which team stayed?
2017-01-06 02:05
complexity i guess
2017-01-06 02:20
figures kek
2017-01-06 04:01
So what I'm seeing is that these teams literally decided to join a worse league just cause it has bigger names in it? PEA had less competition and MORE prize money, why would you even want to play in EPL
2017-01-06 02:05
IMO childish defiance (or stubbornness; not sure how to phrase it). They are somewhat obsessed with the idea that the Decision-making power got stolen from them. So they fought for it at all cost, without thinking about economical aspects.
2017-01-06 02:27
the childish move was from PEA trying to go exclusive over EPL
2017-01-06 11:42
well this childish move would have guaranteed an income of a 7 figure sum for the PEA, including orgs and players.
2017-01-06 16:20
This a lame excuse, and the players obviously learned the lesson after CGS. Perhaps you were not even born yet back then :)
2017-01-07 22:47
nice assumption. Im turning 25 soon, not that this would be relevant. This isnt 1990, 2000 or 2010. Its 2017, where the big money starts to come into esports. Its coming from sponsors and investors. Not from fame and glory or the prize pools, which are not that big as well as unreachable for teams like e.g. TSM. Most of the capital sits in NA, which is the reason why NA teams make very good money, despite their poor performance. With this move, the players damaged themselves in multiple ways. 1. They missed the opportunity to make more money over the next year than they probably will over the next yearS. 2. They damaged their team brand, resulting in sponsors backing out with their money (this already happened atleast to TSM! (=> seangares kick)) => not exactly a good position to be in for the next negotiations. 3. They scare potential investors which will think twice if they invest in their teams from now on. Thorin's interview with Reginald is very interesting in this regard.
2017-01-08 01:44
f0rest | 
Indonesia rareguy 
Because all you think is money.
2017-01-06 02:30
Oh what, they have some emotional ties to EPL or something? What else is there? The player rights argument is pointless because more often than not the players don't really choose the leagues they play in anyway, it's chosen by the org almost every time. The players don't argue because the leagues are almost always the big name leagues anyway. PEA miscommunicated and weren't as transparent with their intentions as they should have been, but THAT is what the whole fiasco should have been centered on, not whether or not the players should or should not play in a certain league. I'm proud of the NRG and Complexity guys for not signing that letter like the rest of them did, even though they had no choice but to go to EPL like the rest of them after there was only two teams left in the PEA league.
2017-01-06 03:00
I'm on a phone so this will be short: it's not about how much the league offers, but about not being restricted to a single revenue stream moving forward. That was the underlying issue that the PEA would've set as a precedent, and that's dangerous to player wellfare currently. There are some other factors too, such as how it's organized by the people responsible for the CGS which is a solid reason to be skeptical of long term viable sustainability.
2017-01-06 03:31
I get that, but there was no indication that they would exclude ALL other leagues. In fact, they mentioned that they had already agreed to work with ECS and were attempting communications with Eleague, and had no intentions whatsoever of restricting players from playing in those leagues.
2017-01-06 05:11
Bulgaria Grezko 
If you read Sir Scoots'post you will see that the "more" money that PEA offered was not guaranteed. And considering that PEA at its core is pretty similar to CGS. This is a cause for real concern. In comparison multiple ppl (not players only) said EPL might delay some payments but they always come. A secondary point is that PEA offers share of the profit NOT share of the revenue. Look up the term "hollywood acounting" to see how easily a profit can be made to be officially 0.
2017-01-06 11:02
The issue with this statement is that it implies that there's no issue with setting a precedent. I'm not saying you're wrong, because you aren't. If they were supposedly trying to work with those organizations, that's good. The problem is that they were trying to damage their largest competition, which begs the question of who they go after next. Everything the CGS did hurt the competitive scene in NA for years after it fell apart. Wanting to give those individuals leeway to dictate player decisions is pretty scary. That said, if these leagues offered reasonable living pay for players, it might be less of an issue (this was an argument I made in a previous thread, because right now player revenue is not stable enough to limit the leagues they compete in). Also, Grezko makes an absurdly good point. Using the word "profit" rather than "revenue" to dictate what a player may earn is horrifying. He's absolutely right, because revenue and profit are not the same thing in the eyes of the business world.
2017-01-06 17:52
Dw, everyone's argument here is just "Wow they're idiots for not accepting the league that offered more prize money over all". L m a o. Because being forced to choose one league over another that is giving off shady vibes and little communication for "more money" is totally the way to go. Can't anyone see the ridiculous damage that this could've caused had these people not had morals?
2017-01-06 05:15
You're a moron.
2017-01-06 14:51
f0rest | 
Slovakia Dui 
Because it was an attempt to monopolize the scene in NA and that would hurt players in a long run.
2017-01-06 02:40
Brazil wAc 
1- players want to win internationally and PEA would make them worse. 2- it would open a precedent for orgs to not allow the player to play ecs, eleague, etc, epl was just the begining 3-EPL is the most traditional and classic league in cs, existing for more than 10 years, and players don't want them to leave NA
2017-01-06 02:49
why would the league you consider having more competition be the league you consider the 'worse' one....literally makes no sense players don't even make the majority of their money off of prize pots (salaries, stickers).
2017-01-06 05:55
"players don't even make the majority of their money off of prize pots (salaries, stickers" At least na teams ;)
2017-01-06 06:17
World ZMDR 
theres more to a game than money
2017-01-06 06:06
It's not a worse league when it has better names in it. That makes it better.
2017-01-06 06:15
Big prize money is meaningless without tough competition. It's easy money, but most players already have a comfortable salary through their orgs, that's not what the main goal of these guys is, and this decision showed that.
2017-01-06 08:06
Greece hekzy 
All you kids think of is money. It's about the competition. NA scene is shit, they know that and they don't want any special treatment because it will just make the scene even worse.
2017-01-06 09:13
Sweden Kasidro 
And less competition is a good thing? It is tremendously bad for the na scene in the long run if anything
2017-01-06 09:40
France Cyxies 
you forget something : PEA doesn't allow NA teams to play EPL and play only the PEA League. that the reason why they dont play both ^^ (sry bad english im a fucking camembert)
2017-01-06 10:40
Puls3 | 
World bigb1rd 
Because not everyone in a competitive sport/game wants "less competition". Seriously. What the fuck are you on? Who wants to only play the same lower level teams and never compete against the best, bizarre
2017-01-06 10:55
You'd rather they decided to play against themselves only for a little more money? Well that thing would have lasted very, very long...
2017-01-06 11:41
PEA is the biggest sh*t on csgo pro scene ever
2017-01-06 02:06
Spain akproxx 
2017-01-06 02:06
What do you mean?
2017-01-06 02:06
2017-01-06 02:06
too many acronyms ffs
2017-01-06 02:07
rip wesa rip pea rip all of you fucking scumshit leagues
2017-01-06 02:08
Italy Growl 
Wesa is still a thing i think
2017-01-06 02:18
Nice get rekt PEA
2017-01-06 02:16
2017-01-06 02:20
If the players were to choose two out of three (ECS, PEA, ESL) I wonder if ECS would've received the short-end of the stick. If so, the teams have really pigeon-holed themselves. Lets just hope NACS improves enough in 2017 so the future PEA's are more NFL and less CFL. (Also, Jason Katz shouldn't be allowed to have any influence in the affairs of NACS, but that's just my incredibly bitter opinion).
2017-01-06 02:21
Japan OGSC 
Whats the differnce between NFL and CFL? I know NFL, they do the super bowl, don't they?
2017-01-06 03:50
That's exactly the difference: You know the NFL, despite not giving a shit about "football", and have no idea what the CFL is.
2017-01-06 10:03
Ah I see, thanks for the explanation
2017-01-06 13:44
2017-01-06 02:29
f0rest | 
Indonesia rareguy 
6 out of 7, what is the team that chose PEA?
2017-01-06 02:31
2017-01-06 02:32
Greece hekzy 
Fucking figures. Only shit teams would go for the easy money. No honor or dignity.
2017-01-06 09:15
Well i dont really know what else PEA expected, i mean ESL are the one that has most of the Major tournaments, dont really want to get off side with them amiright
2017-01-06 02:34
Switzerland Yabbahh 
Rip PEA. Rip Sean "seang@ares" gares Rip NA expectations of winning a tier 1 competition.
2017-01-06 02:42
2017-01-06 02:43
XD nice pea
2017-01-06 02:45
Other wholelottared 
Lol, Complexity voted no
2017-01-06 02:53
2017-01-06 02:58
retards they choose to play in a worse league with lower price pool etc. instead of having their own league with bigger price pool, medical care etc. etc. they agreed to it and now suddenly they want to play in esl... gtfo for real I'm glad seang@res was kicked
2017-01-06 03:03
Singapore Nephalith 
You should read scoots' longer statement and you will might understand why players chose to stick with EPL. It's not an easy decision for them either but long term, PEA will not do them or PEA themselves any good by being an exclusive league depriving players from international exposure.
2017-01-06 04:31
funny how complexity didn't vote too because they wouldn't qualify for epl anyways lmao
2017-01-06 03:10
Estonia Delan0 
There are the economical aspects of the players and then there are the economical aspects of the orgs. I mean it must be understood that an org is a business. The entire principle of business is to maximise profits. Players on the other hand are not busineses. What i mean by that is that they are free to choose what they think as other benefits over money. What they did there is an act of solidarity against eachother. They made a decision and then they stuck by it. Its integrity like that which will make sure that they players rights wont be violated in the future. Im not saying orgs are "bad" or whatever. But there needs to be a balance in the rights and obligations of both players and orgs.
2017-01-06 03:22
Good for PEA. Now instead of simply giving up or 'place their funds somewhere else' they should put their heads together and organize a first event of a series that, in the long run, can compete with other already well established competitors. If they do not, well, it would seem to me that they didn't learn from their mistake of trying to force the players' hand.
2017-01-06 03:36
+1 indeed tio!
2017-01-06 03:52
English ONLY please. Thank you.
2017-01-06 04:33
2017-01-06 12:52
Jonathan, you don't really mean it in a serious way no? He just said tio..
2017-01-06 14:25
Which isn't English, is it? Call me picky if you want but the English only rule applies to everyone and should be respected by everyone too.
2017-01-07 03:46
Maybe his english isn't the best.
2017-01-11 13:11
2017-01-06 08:42
Eloquent as always mr jon jon e. =D
2017-01-06 16:57
Well i think it's time to bury down this PEA thingy and go for something new. With the damage done to the brand, they'll never get a decent start. Well Played Jason Katz, knew you would've screw this up! Just like you screwed Azubu xD
2017-01-06 05:09
stupid misinformed decision by the players. EPL will continue to make money off of them while they get nothing in return. Good job fucking idiots.
2017-01-06 05:18
just another kid pretending to know about esports get out of mom's basement
2017-01-06 05:57
I am actually 28 and I have been following eSports since I was 14 and I have a lucrative career. Nice life kid.
2017-01-06 21:47
Greece hekzy 
If they want to get more money they should GET BETTER. Lazy fucking princesses.
2017-01-06 09:20
Portugal dracø 
Figures that complexity would want PEA over EPL, there is barely any chance for them to get there lel kek. All in all, get rekt PEA :D They can now do as they said on their ultimatum or get their shit together and actually establish a decent name in csgo.
2017-01-06 06:10
If thorin knows anything, this is bad for players because I can't understand shit about these leagues
2017-01-06 06:12
World Buick 
fuk crooked pea
2017-01-06 07:39
Russia Sur10n 
2017-01-06 09:34
Pretty sure only the owners of the teams are making more money when they join these exclusive leagues not the players unless they actually win the prize money which many of these NA teams can't even get out of groups even in an NA tournament so it would be pointless and the teams that can don't want to win more money they want to compete against the best teams no one cares about being the best in NA anymore now that NA teams know they can win events.
2017-01-06 09:45
SO PEA is like the UFC when it comes to contracts and utterly suck. Got it.
2017-01-06 10:19
2017-01-06 12:42
The core of this: EPL has given garantee over 4 more seasons of EPL (Season 5-8) while PEA only gave a garanted single season. And as ESL exists so long, the players trust that ESL will be there for the next to years giving out prize money and revenue share, while PEA only exists on paper with promisses by Mr. I ruin Esports Jason Katz. When it comes to the money, Scoots wrote out: EPL grands 1M Prizemoney and 1M Revenueshare over a Season over 28 teams. WESA teams get slightly more then non WESA teams as I understood. (WESA still open for NA Orgs). PEA gives 500k Prizemoney and 250-300k Profit share. Revenueshare is always better then profit share, because profit share is easy to manipulate (Watch Holywood saying Lord of the Rings made horrible loses even tho making 6 Billion $ with 3 Films at the box office) revenueshare is much better for the ones who get the shares. Yes, PEA is easier to get the high money thanks to no competition, but EPL Season 4 has shown, the NA teams can reach good spots. PEA has only a slight advantage in money terms. Healthcare by PEA is a joke. Everyone of their player is already secured by an health insurance (when you earn 10k a month, you can pay the 400$ per month and young adults dont pay alot anyway, even in the US). The health care thing of PEA is not bonus you need, when you earn 10k a month. You got it anyway. Fun thing is, that in EU, you are health insured anyway, because the state health insurance systems exists there and WESA does not need to even promote this bullshit. All in all, PEA only had one advantage: A slight edge in money for the teams. But this comes with Jason Katz ruling, only 1 saved season against 4 seasons over 2 years and alot of bullshit by the PEA leaders and their "transparency" and "votings". The players are smart, they should try to get their owners joining WESA (the only reason NA teams did not join WESA was that they wanted more money by WESA then the initial 150k $ + shares out of EPL) and when there comes the next exclusivity bullshit by WESA, they are at least on board with a global exclusive product. Yes, exclusivity is shit for CS and I hope it never comes, but if you want to be part of it, dont be part of the exclusivity made by Jason Katz in the inferiour region, be part of a global exclusivity by people who know and breath esports for years.
2017-01-06 12:52
2017-01-06 13:35
wow nice, and now TSM lost their most valuable player gg
2017-01-06 13:40
2017-01-06 13:43
Portugal mrsc 
great fucking news glad to see players stood up for the integrity of the scene. hats off
2017-01-06 15:37
United Kingdom FEodAL 
at least tell us what that PEA league woulk look like
2017-01-06 15:39
I'll be honest, I'm very ignorant of all the small details, but good to see players getting some representation and voice for themselves.
2017-01-06 16:59
Login or register to add your comment to the discussion.