Seven U.S. esports teams today formed a new group called the Professional Esports Association (PEA), which will launch a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league early next year.
The founding teams are Team Solomid (TSM), Cloud9, Team Liquid, Counter Logic Gaming (CLG), Immortals, NRG eSports and compLexity Gaming. The PEA plans a 10-week season with a prize pool of $1 million for its first year.
The PEA's founding follows the announcement of the World Esports Association (WESA) by ESL — the biggest league organizer in the world — along with a panoply of top European teams, including Fnatic, Natus Vincere, EnVyUs, Virtus.Pro, Gamers2, FaZe, mousesports and Ninjas in Pyjamas.
The team-owned PEA says that players and owners will receive a 50 percent share of profits as well as "a suite of financial benefits and services to the players, including retirement and investment planning, health insurance and more," according to a press release. The burgeoning esports business has faced criticism for its sometimes cavalier attitude to players.
"It's time for leagues to share the rewards and strategic decisions with the players," said Andy Dinh, CEO of TSM. "The best way for team organizations to do that is for us to do it ourselves. The PEA is a vehicle for us to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the players, doing what we all love."