Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament organizer BLAST announced a restructuring of its prize-money payouts Wednesday, a move that drew the ire of the Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association.
In a post on its website, BLAST stated that it will reduce the prize pools for events and will instead put additional money toward participation fees that teams receive for competing. The company stated that its total payouts will remain the same.
Citing the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the esports world, BLAST stated that the change "will help provide a more sustainable model for the broader industry." In addition, BLAST said that its partner teams agreed with the move.
However, the players balked at the news, as participation fees typical would go to the club, unlike prize pools, of which players receive a cut.
The players union tweeted, "The decision to reduce the prize money in Blast tournaments has been made by Blast and the member teams unilaterally without consulting the @CSPPAgg and the players. The reduction in prize money in 2020 alone is 1,150,000 USD. In 2021 it will be 1,775,000 USD. In total 2,925,000 USD that are given to the member teams instead of the players.
"For the CSPPA it is important to ensure the sustainability of the eco system. But players need to be included as key stakeholders and be involved in such decisions! The CSPPA board is discussing this issue currently and we will initiate discussions with Blast as soon as possible."
BLAST CEO Robbie Douek said in a statement, "We partner alongside the most progressive brands in esports, many of whom have also felt the impact of Covid-19. We believe this realignment will help sustain the broader ecosystem and ensure that we can all emerge stronger together."
JMR Luna, CEO of European esports club OG, added in a statement, "Investing in the ecosystem enables all organizations, whether new or established, to develop infrastructure around the players. This change is crucial for the long term sustainability of our ecosystem."
Earlier this year, the BLAST Premier Spring event was split into online divisions for Europe (10 teams, $182,500 prize pool) and North America (four teams, $250,000 prize pool).
The BLAST Premier Fall regular season for Europe and North America is scheduled to run Oct. 22-Nov. 4, leading up to BLAST Premier Fall Finals, which will run Dec. 8-13. Eight teams will compete in the Fall Finals, vying for a $425,000 prize pool.
--Field Level Media