Two Esports Player Associations in Works For 'Overwatch' and 'CS: GO'

“I don’t see this [players association] as any different than any other PA just because it’s esports"

Two different groups are looking to start players associations, similar to those in other sports, for professional Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) players, Sports Business Daily reports. Both burgeoning groups are made up of either former professional esports players and sports attorneys.

The first group detailed is a joint venture between former-player-turned-coach Thomas “Morte” Kerbusch and Ellen Zavian, a longtime sports attorney, and is looking to create a player's union for Overwatch pros. The two have adopted models similar to the NFL and MLB Players Associations, Zavian told the outlet, Additionally, they've consulted with other sports associations.

“I don’t see this [players association] as any different than any other PA just because it’s esports,” she said. “So this isn’t something that will be a lighthearted step. This will be a big step.”

Neither Kerbusch or Zavian would divulge too much info about their Association to Sports Business Daily, but did say they're hoping to release a press release in "four months" detailing such things as "how many players are represented." 

The second initiative, the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association (CSPPA), led by esports broadcaster Scott “SirScoots” Smith and esports attonry Michael Doi, looks to create a players association for CS: GO players both in the ESL Pro League and the FACEIT ECS leagues. As of right now, the association is not looking to officially unionize, but is collecting player signatures in support of the group. As of writing, the CSPPA has over 225 signatures, Smith said. Even though its only collecting signatures as of right now, tournament organizers are already asking what the CSPPA and players want and about working conditions, he added. 

Josh Swartz, the president and co-founder of Catalyst Sports & Media, told Sports Business Daily forming esports players associations and unions might be in the best interest for players and owners, as it makes sure someone is taking into consideration a player's best interests, as well as bringing "player cost certainty for owners."

“I believe formation of a players association, or more accurately multiple players associations across different publishers, leagues and games, is inevitable,” Swartz said.