Surprise, The World Esports Association Is Already In Trouble

 Photo: Scuf Gaming / FaZe Clan
Photo: Scuf Gaming / FaZe Clan

It was only yesterday that I was breaking down the colossal farce that has become the unveiling of the World Esports Association. That was 24 hours ago — which reportedly was all that was required before the new world order began to unravel.

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IGN’s Kevin Knocke has been given the mother of all drops today from professional team FaZe Clan. According to him, FaZe will be paying ESL and WESA $USD50,000 to leave the newly-formed association.

The division between FaZe and WESA stems from representation. Most major teams already have their own agreements with talent agencies to represent and take their brands out to market, something WESA supposedly wanted exclusivity over. That’s not a massive surprise, though: WESA’s public business listingrevealed that the confederation would look after the “bundling of sporting and commercial interests of the teams that are members”.

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Obviously, that’s not something that FaZe would hand over lightly. From IGN’s Knocke:

ESL was allegedly pressuring teams to exclusively partner with WESA, and FaZe wanted to retain their current representation. FaZe has informed Petro Fringuelli, acting commissioner of WESA, of their intent to withdraw from the association. They’re expected to publicly announce their departure next week.

There’s no corroboration in the piece, but it’s also fairly obvious where the information came from: FaZe themselves. The team hasn’t denied or played down the piece yet, and the same information published in Knocke’s report was also supposedly provided to veteran esports journalist Richard Lewis. Someone was going to break this news today; the former StarCraft caster just happened to be first.

Given that ESL earlier this week were trying to quell concerns that they weren’t trying to assert any control over professional Counter-Strike or establish any sort of exclusivity, the report is pretty damaging.

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You have to feel a little for ESL and their owners Turtle Entertainment, though. This is an association with global ambitions that required more than a year of negotiations before it could get off the ground. And it’s falling over only a week after it started. That’s gotta sting.


This story originally appeared on Kotaku Australia.

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DISCUSSION

wrestlefire
Wrestlefire

E-sports, itself, is in serious trouble.

You’ve got this situation with WESA, you’ve got the Korean StarCraft fixing scandal, and you’ve got the mess that five or six owners have made out of the North American CS and LCS in League of Legends.

You've got allegations of fraud to acquire a team from a prominent League caster in Korea who may have only served as a front or "beard" for a banned owner who was tampering other teams — you've got allegations this owner may have committed stalking or harassment, plus civil rights violations, against players on the team in question. You've got illegal comingling of an LCS and a CS team that might even run afoul of Federal sports bribery laws. You've got missed/deliberately omitted payments. And you've got a Riot Games so desperate to fill it's spots that it may be trying to hand-wave away an illegal sale of one of the forced-sale teams, while the other two, nearly 24 hours after a Riot deadline to sell (one CS and one LCS) apparently sit vacant, leaving a gaping hole in the NA LCS schedule released yesterday.