A Five Year Esports Contract : Does It Make Sense ?

June 24, 2019 | 0 | 749| |

The Brazilian Esports organisation Furia recently announced that they have signed their roster for an additional five years. The CS:GO roster has recently risen up through the ranks and is currently ranked fifth in the world. This is a huge step up for the organisation which has never tasted such rankings and popularity in the past.

Furia's rankings
FURIA’s rankings over the past few months. Image Credit: ESL

The team has maintained itself at their peak rankings for the past five weeks. The performance of the team has remained top notch over the past few months. They came into everyone’s attention due to their Grand Final appearance at ECS Season 7 LAN Finals.

A Five Year Contract: Good or Bad?

FURIA CSGO players
FURIA players have decided to stick together with the organisation. Image Credit: HLTV

A Five Year Contract might sound very good initially. It would offer stability to the players’ careers and provide them with guaranteed employment for the next five years. However, there are obvious flaws in the enforcement of such a contract, which could lead to problems for the players in the future.

Potential for Roster Changes

Art from FURIA celebrating a round win.
aRt from Team FURIA. Image Credit: HLTV

The length of the contract assumes that the current bunch of five players will be able to play at the same skill level for five years. However, if history has taught us anything, rosters do not last for such a length of time. With changes in the meta and drop in form, it is not rare to see teams make changes to their roster. The need for fresh talent in the team is often felt with poor results and weak placements in premier events.

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How would FURIA handle roster changes which are imminent, possibly within the next two years? A five-year contract is just too long in esports, where the landscape is constantly changing. For an organisation to keep abreast of such an evolving scene, it is essential that they do not commit too far into the future. The need to change teams and players is often the main reason for shorter contracts.

The Salary: Underwhelming or too much in the future?

Furia Team HUG.
The past few months have seen FURIA rise to Rank #5 in HLTV rankings. Image Credit: HLTV

FURIA is not a household name in Counter-Strike, at least not yet. The Brazilian roster has only recently managed to break into the Top 10 and secure their peak ranking of #5.

There is little doubt that the team’s salary right now would be better than their previous one. However, there is always the potential to improve the team’s performance in the future. After all, right now, FURIA seems to be a very strong team, one capable of upsetting some of the best teams in the world.

Let’s assume that the team would improve further from their current performance. Assuming they become superstars in their own right, their salary would feel less than their accomplishments in the future. However, there is also the risk of the team falling off from their pedestal and their fifth rank right now.

Either way, we see the team’s performance possibly impacting the team’s contract with FURIA. It could go either way with the contract possibly being underwhelming or the players could be overpaid.

Prize Winnings Distribution

Smix interviewing arT image.
Smix interviewing aRt at ECS Season 7 LAN Finals. Image Credit: HLTV

The length of the contract essentially provides for more stringent clauses in the contract. Ofcourse, we do not have the details of the contract, however, prize-winning distribution will be an important criterion in the future.

If FURIA could rise to the top ( and it’s very much possible as we have seen with SK Gaming in the past); the percentage of the prize-winning distribution could be a determining factor.

What happens when a player is benched?

The players on FURIA have great synergy with each other.
Vini and Kscerato from Team FURIA. Image Credit: HLTV

The big question would be the decision of the team when a player is benched. Roster changes are inevitable and FURIA will not remain with the same roster till the very end.

What we do not know  ( and won’t know till more details of the contract are out) is what will happen to a benched player. Will he sit out of the team and wait for another team to pay his buyout?

What are the buyout prices? We have seen multiple instances in the past when organisations have blocked players from moving out of the organisation. High buyout prices in the contract can allow the organisation a lot of control and power over the player’s career.

If a player gets a chance to be on a Top team such as MiBr in the future, it would be nearly impossible for MiBr to sign him up. Paying buyout prices can be financially unviable, even if it provides for a much better Counter-Strike team.

The Players’ Perspective

FURIA members at a signing session.
FURIA members at a signing session.

For the players, this is the first time they are witnessing a strong performance from the team. The peak of being the 5th best team in the world can be a huge negotiating force during discussions. For the players, they are already at their peak performance. While we might see the team improve slightly over the years, the distance to cover towards the very top is not much.

However, if the team’s performance falters, it would definitely have an impact on their future contracts. Signing a five-year contract provides job security and can be especially useful if the team’s performance falters. Ofcourse, it would definitely be an underpayment if the team becomes even better and rises up the ranks. It is a small adjustment on the part of the players and a wise bet in the eyes of many.

Legal Advice Before Signing a Contract

It is extremely important that the players did consult a legal expert to sign the contract. Such a long contract is very rare in esports. From the players’ perspective, they do not have experience in negotiating such contracts with organisations. Not only is the contract unprecedented ( in a way ) in esports, but it would also provide for many loopholes, over the course of five years.

A legal expert, who has experience in dealing with player contracts would be able to spot out such loopholes with ease. His experience in handling such cases would ensure that the players are not cheated out of their rights. While not all organisations are always looking out for pure monetary advances, the existence of such a clause can be a huge problem.

For now, FURIA remains a top tier team in Counter-Strike Global Offensive. The course of the next few months will show how strong the current roster is. Having reached the Grand Finals of ECS Season 7, there is no limit to what FURIA can achieve in the future.

The author

Esports journalist. An esports fan, former wannabe pro and occasional angry young man. You can find him trying to climb the Dota 2 MMR or just chilling in Rocket League. Or maybe building an entire city in Cities: Skylines. The current mood is always a surprise.

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