During the round-table FACEIT hosted for their current ECS season five, the tournament organiser revealed the number of teams currently holding shares in the league’s holding company.
All in all, fourteen of the twenty teams currently partaking in the divisions own a portion of the league. The split favours the European teams rather than those based in North America, most likely leaning onto the cultural differences between competitive sports leagues in the two regions. The teams with a shareholding, and currently competing in ECS, are Astralis, Cloud9, compLexity, eUnited, FaZe, Fnatic, G2, Gambit, GODSENT, Liquid, mousesports, Ninjas in Pyjamas, NRG and Renegades.
Further information on the ownership structure of it all was later revealed by co-founder and CBO Michele Attisani, stating all of the teams are on indefinite partnerships with the league and, depending on the deal, would require a one-to-two-year period of notice in order to leave the competition. The indefinite nature of the deals is also new for the ECS, as before now teams were only on one-to-two-year rolling contracts as they wanted to test the waters and see how well the league would work.
When asked on why certain organisations hadn’t yet bought into the structure, Attisani kept it simple: “It’s optional, they can opt-in. Everyone has the option to join, some teams haven’t done it yet maybe because it takes time for them to do their due diligence and figure out the whole legal side of it. Some teams might not be in a position to do it due to other corporate structure reasons. It’s not necessarily something that works for every team, but for the majority of the teams, it’s of huge value. Even for the teams not in yet, the vast majority of them are looking for ways to make sure they can be apart of it as shareholders as well, as there are huge benefits in that.”
The huge benefits? Teams that become direct shareholders in ECS’s holding company have access to a vast amount of dividends. Most notable of all is an increase of the revenue share teams get to 30%, meaning their direct influence in the company offers instant returns. That comes with the understanding that if a team gets relegated from the main division, their shareholding is retained for the next two seasons and if they do not return in that time-scale, then they let go of the shares. This is currently in place, as there are two further teams who currently hold shares who suffered relegation in the previous season.
FACEIT made it clear that this was not a franchised system, operating the company in a format more akin to a Premier League-style system. They also made it clear that was not the way they intended to go, stating that franchising “wouldn’t work for ECS” and the Counter-Strike:Global Offensive ecosystem was built in a different way to other games. Their commitment to this was further clarified by the announcement of a new promotion system for the next season of ECS, a change to the current Development League, however, details on this are yet to be announced.
Esports Insider says: So far it’d appear their project has been a success, boasting 60,000+ players having taken part in various places on the platform relating to ECS, including Hubs and last season’s qualifying tournaments. It’d appear that the growth will continue with the finals tournament in Wembley this June, before the Major hits London in September.