BLAST Revamps Prize Money Structure With Eye Towards Team Stability, Community Expresses Concerns

Tournament organizer BLAST announced Wednesday a restructuring of its prize money payout system. The company will reduce the prize pool paid out in competitions, moving those funds into increased participation fees for teams and organizations in its tournament ecosystem. The total sum of money paid out through prizing and participation will remain unchanged.

Effectively, this change spreads money more evenly to all teams participating in BLAST events regardless of their success in those tournaments. However, that money is likely to be treated as increased revenue for the team organizations rather than being paid out to the players. In most esports player contracts, the majority of prize money won by teams is paid directly to the players. This means that a reduction in prize money generated by winning a tournament is a reduction in income for the players in exchange for increased revenue for all team organizations.

The Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association issued a statement on Twitter that it was not consulted regarding this change. “For the CSPPA it is important to ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem,” the statement reads, “but players need to be included as key stakeholders and be involved in such decisions!”

BLAST’s announcement indicates that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic played a role in this change, but CSPPA advisor and longtime CS:GO community figurehead Scott Smith indicated that this has been an ongoing discussion for tournament organizers prior to the pandemic.

This is the second time in recent months that BLAST has faced scrutiny and criticism from the CS:GO community. The company received significant pushback to the announcement of a controversial sponsorship arrangement with Saudi Arabian city project NEOM. The partnership was terminated several weeks after its initial announcement, as confirmed by The Esports Observer.

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