Evil Geniuses, the renowned esports organization, is currently embroiled in contract disputes with its Valorant Champions 2023–winning roster. According to reports by esports journalist Richard Lewis, EG has put its players in a challenging situation, where they must either accept a pay cut or hope another team is willing to pay the buyout fees specified by EG. This unexpected turn of events has not only surprised the players but has also raised questions about the management of player contracts in competitive esports.
I miss old esports
Where if you were good, you were on a good team
Where there was something to grind for, and if you did it successfully, you got to reap the benefits
Where winning was everything
— EG Ethan (@ethanarnold) September 11, 2023
Evil Geniuses Contract Conundrum
Evil Geniuses contract negotiations have left their Valorant roster in a precarious position. It’s reported that EG has not set specific buyout prices in their player contracts. Instead, the organization determines the amount required for a player to be released from their contract on a case-by-case basis. Notably, EG has already rejected significant buyout offers for Max “Demon1” Mazanov and Ethan “Ethan” Arnold, each valued at around $100,000.
This lack of predefined buyout clauses puts EG in a powerful position, as they can choose to deny any offers that come their way. As a result, the players are effectively held hostage by their contracts, with limited options for moving to another team or negotiating better terms.
Demon1, in particular, is reportedly frustrated with EG’s handling of the situation and is unlikely to continue with the organization due to these contract disputes. The uncertainty surrounding the players’ futures has sparked rumours about their potential destinations, but without clear buyout structures, it’s challenging for any new team to acquire their services.
The contracts with EG run until 2024, further limiting the players’ options. Even if they opt to play out their contracts, they could find themselves in a less favourable free agency market once their agreements expire.
This contract dispute is not isolated but reflects a broader issue in the VALORANT competitive scene. The offseason has already seen controversies, such as The Guard initially releasing their roster after an Ascension win, only for community outcry to secure their place under the G2 banner.
With Evil Geniuses, the reigning world champions, caught in a contractual quagmire, questions are arising about the stability and fairness of player contracts in VALORANT esports. The players, who were at the pinnacle of the competitive scene in 2023, now face the possibility of a pay cut or a delayed entry into free agency, depending on EG’s willingness to entertain offers.
The contract disputes involving Evil Geniuses and their VALORANT Champions 2023-winning roster highlight the complexities and challenges surrounding player contracts in esports. As the VALORANT competitive scene continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important for organizations and league authorities to establish clear and fair contract structures that benefit both players and teams, ensuring the long-term health and growth of the sport.