Some quick reactions to the PEA's response:
It will take some time to fully digest the PEA's open letter response, but here are some quick reaction thoughts:
1. Telling us that the PEA is not an exclusive league and that the owners will give the players the right to choose, but continuing to force a choice between PEA and EPL creates the same end result. The PEA owners know from our private letters that the players have been saying clearly that they wish to play in both leagues. The players do not have to choose between PEA and EPL - that's a false dichotomy. The PEA does not need EPL to "vacate" North America in order to be a financially viable league. This sentiment contradicts exactly what the PEA and its owners said back in September when they told us that they would be able to work with other tournaments to make sure nobody's schedule was disrupted.
2. The PEA's proposed compromise with WESA involves forcing this false dichotomy. When Jason Katz described the PEA's compromise to me, he specifically said that EPL would have to "vacate" North America. In Noah's letter, he describes the EPL as being allowed to "continue to operate in Europe" - let's keep in mind that the EPL, if you include ESEA league, has operated in North America for over ten years. The PEA has yet to host a single event. It doesn't really make sense, for the players or the community, to have teams completely withdraw from a league that has existed in North America for a decade in favor of a league that has never run an event before. Giving the PEA a fair shot at their first season is one thing, but forcing the EPL out of NA in order to so is another thing.
3. It is hard to comment on the PEA's prize money per player calculation because after five requests they did not send us the document containing the details behind it. But the pitch points the PEA has relayed in their letter were already pitched to me and the players in private meetings, and the owners already know that we are very skeptical about the pitch points and disagree on many of them.
4. We can get into what are appropriate esports/traditional sports analogies later, but esports is unlike any traditional sport (in a good way) and simply cannot be forced into a box based on traditional sports precedent. The esports industry has some aspects in common with traditional team sports culture, but in many ways it has more aspects in common with traditional individual sports culture. The general point is that esports is a wonderful, unique industry. It has been built around the openness its inherent technology offers, and this openness has contributing greatly to the industry's dynamic growth. We should not be trying to stifle that by stuffing esports into traditional sports precedents.
5. The PEA owners themselves are the ones who ultimately determine streaming and sponsor obligations. The owners are saying that the players do not have time to properly compete and practice and complete all of these obligations when the owners are the ones who are determining the extent of these obligations! There is also absolutely no transparency with the players about how these decisions are made and the economics behind them! The owners should be focused addressing this issue not by controlling the players' tournament schedules, but by being open with their economics and working with the players to determine and balance the players' various obligations collaboratively.
6. With regard to profit sharing, as we have explained to the PEA and its owners, having a cut of $0 still equates to $0. When you get more into the details about how the PEA defines profit and how it is calculated, it becomes less exciting. We have informed the PEA of these concerns already. Again, it's difficult to get into specifics when we have never been sent anything in writing.
7. If the PEA had these kinds of tables and graphs lying around, they should have sent it over to the players when we requested it during our private negotiations. Just a reminder - they sent us absolutely nothing in writing despite us asking for it at least five times.
We'll be continuing to digest the PEA's open letter over the coming days, and we'll also be touching base with EPL. Please keep in mind that the players have repeatedly told the PEA that they have no issue with competing in the PEA's first season and that they simply do not want to be forced out of EPL in order to so. Being able to "choose" between two options that are not mutually exclusive is an illusion, not actual freedom of choice.
Thank you to everyone in the community for your kind words over the last few days. Please continue to be vocal about your support for the #playersrights movement!