SpeedGaming manager reveals contracts without players' permission
Earlier today Marco A. Fernandez, the CEO and manager of Speed Gaming, made the contracts of all five Dota 2 players signed to the team public via the team's Facebook page. However, according to WehSing 'SingSing' Yuen on his stream only moments ago this action was taken without the knowledge or consultation of the players involved.
Fernandez described his actions in bringing the information public in the following way:
I’ve been authorized to make this public. I will try to answer as many questions as I can to the community. Something you might want to understand is that this is an invested organization and our contracts might be very different from other organizations who are already working under long term sponsorships, partnerships and so on. As a final note, we are not just focusing in Dota 2 but instead to expand as well into other games such as SC2, LoL and CSGO.
The usage of the term "authorized" and the lack of any mention of discussing things with the players or any comment from the players as part of the reveal was a foreshadowing, as it appears Fernandez had picked and chosen his words carefully. The reason is that standard practice with all e-Sports contracts, as opposed to normal work contracts, is to include a Non-Disclosure Agreement regarding any and all details about the contract. To be clear, Fernandez did have permission from the Chinese owners of Speed Gaming to release the information he made public, but did not consult the players before his reveal earlier today. These NDA's serve to protect the party which has greater access to information through experience, which in general are the organizations with knowledge of many more past contract negotiations. While the benefit of his actions can be seen as going to players in general, these NDA's are generally mutually binding, and one signing party should not have legal grounds to unilaterally reveal such information.
While it would generally be in the interest of all players to have all contracts public, it's not hard to see why nobody wants to be the first to reveal such details. The knowledge of contract terms may cause fan backlash both in cases where they are deemed to be overly compensated compared to their results and in cases where the fans may believe the organization isn't giving the teams a fair salary. While as Fernandez states he revealed this information in response to a blogpost by Jonathan 'Loda' Berg of Alliance, which called for greater transparency in terms of salaries in Dota 2, it should be noted that even as current effective "world champions" of Dota, Alliance contracts are still not public. Be that due to organization pressure or the players still fearing some repercussions from unilaterally revealing this information, it is clear that this is a touchy subject.
Perhaps more than anything this incident has once again highlighted the need for a players association, as everyone involved struggles to find their way in this brand new landscape of e-Sports. Without unified representation players lack the muscle to demand their rights against the far more experienced and monetarily stable organizations. Generally such discussions of players organizations begin and end with a single game, even as organizations span different games, which should make us all consider that if the organizations see all e-Sports as a collective, perhaps we as players and fans should also consider a larger context, akin to how the Chinese teams association ACE has included both Dota 2 and League of Legends under one roof.
We will not re-post the contract details in this news because of how this reveal was handled in breach of players rights. This may seem an arbitrary moral stance, and to some extent it is. For those who wish to peruse the contracts for themselves they can be found via the Facebook post for as long as that remains up.
Headline Image of Speed Gaming taken from SingSing's Twitter account.