Just weeks after lifting the Valorant 2023 trophy, Evil Geniuses are being told to take significant pay cuts or face being dropped.
The Valorant championship-winning side is now at risk as its roster of talent considers whether they should stay or go.
Evil Genuises cutting costs
The starting roster of Evil Geniuses is considering their options after being given a “take it or leave it” offer.
The news broke earlier this week on X (formerly Twitter) when Max Katz revealed that anyone remaining on the team “would be subjected to a significant pay cut.”
In the lead-up to the revelation, EG team members had posted cryptic messages to X, foreshadowing what came next.
Team member Corbin “C0M” Lee was among the most vociferous complainants.
“I know it’s eSports and people come and go out of organizations, but the constant pace of people leaving or losing their jobs makes me sad,” said Lee on Sept. 11.
Ethan Arnold shared similar sentiments.
“Winning is cool,” said Arnold. “Sucks, it doesn’t matter anymore.”
man i was so happy 2 weeks ago
— EG C0M (@C0Mtweets) September 11, 2023
Team members cut
The take it or leave it offer follows earlier revelations that EG is dropping its reserve roster, including Brendan “BcJ” Jensen, Jeffery “Reformed” Lu, and Vincent “Apothen” Le.
The players are joined by coach Addison ‘zecK’ Gorzec. All are now available and on the market without a buyout.
Announcing the cut, Lindsey Migliore hailed the role the reserve roster played in securing victory for the Evil Geniuses.
“On a regular basis, these five individuals were scrimming and stomping a majority of the VCT Americas teams,” Migliore said. “In addition, they were playing against our starting roster and providing a level of practice we weren’t able to get anywhere else.”
An official announcement on the fate of the first-team roster is still pending.
A lack of transparency
The downsizing of Evil Geniuses is part of a wider trend in eSports as teams look to cut costs.
Alex Gonzalez of Luminosity argues that salaries in eSports are simply too high to be sustainable.
“The conversation isn’t as complex as many want to make it. Pro eSports player salaries are simply too high compared to team revenues,” said Gonzalez. “This is why we’re currently committed to not entering Valorant, CSGO, and other titles that have historically proven to be unsustainable.”
For fans, the discussion on salaries is divorced from figures. Unlike many sports in which the salaries of stars are known, the money in eSports remains a closely guarded secret.
Former Sentinels player ShahZam believes that this is for the best, as armed with that information, “fans would only weaponize it.”