EXCLUSIVE: HUMMER reveals further figures behind Brazilian esports scene

Pictured: HUMMER CEO João ‘Jota’ Albuquerque. Image credit: HUMMER

Following The Union’s disclosure of player salaries, sponsorship figures and transfer fees to Esports Insider, Brazilian esports organisation HUMMER has also revealed its expenditures in the local esports scene.

HUMMER CEO and Co-founder João ‘Jota’ Albuquerque additionally revealed to Esports Insider financial details from its deal with football club Sport Club Corinthians Paulista.

Similarly to The Union, HUMMER is also a modestly-sized esports organisation funded by multi-million  investments holding Fictor. Thanks to such investment, HUMMER has experienced fast-paced growth since its foundation in December 2021, and currently maintains a structure with 70 employees that costs around R$300,000 (~£48,300) and R$350,000 (~£56,300) per month.

A recent string of high-profile, well-publicised figures may impart the impression that Brazilian esports is exclusively made up of multi-million transactions.

Notable examples include paiN Gaming’s signing of CS:GO player Romeu ‘zevy’ Rocco from YNG Sharks for around R$2m (~£321,000) — in reality the biggest transaction in Brazilian CS:GO history — and before that Fluxo’s disclosure that it paid roughly R$2.5m (~£402,000) just to sign players for its CS:GO roster.

The figures released by HUMMER, just like the ones reported by The Union, help clarify the true costs and value involved in the Brazilian esports scene.

Coincidentally, HUMMER’s most valuable asset to date is its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team. The roster, built out of free agent players, gained notoriety for good results and caught the attention of the soccer club Corinthians’ esports project.

Corinthians were likely interested in investing in the CS:GO scene due to the visibility of the upcoming IEM Rio Major 2022. Conversations included selling the whole roster to Corinthians, but HUMMER decided to keep its players under contract and loan them to the football club.

HUMMER’s CS:GO team, on loan to Corinthians. Image credit: Corinthians CDS

Albuquerque disclosed that Corinthians, managed by the esports company CDS, paid HUMMER around R$1.3m (~£209,200) for signing its CS:GO team and staff for six months, and will assume all salary and training structure costs for that period.

The average salary of HUMMER’s CS:GO players currently rests between R$15.000 (~£2,415) and R$20.000 (~£3,218), which is at least three times bigger than The Union’s average of R$5.000 (~£804).

To monetise the team, Corinthians CDS is selling sponsorships to the tune of around R$2.5m (~£402,000) to R$3m (~£482,000). It is important to note that Corinthians is one of the biggest brands in Brazil — arguably the second most popular football club in the country. HUMMER has the right to pocket approximately 30-40% of the earnings from sponsorships closed by Corinthians.

HUMMER also holds a team in the first division of the Brazilian Free Fire League (LBFF) to which it pays an average salary of between R$5.000 (~£804) and R$6.000 (~£965). HUMMER, though, does not own the spot; it still belongs to Saimon Souza Figueiredo, a former manager of Tropa, the team HUMMER acquired the team from. HUMMER then ‘rents’ the spot from Figueiredo.

Such a dynamic is permitted because Free Fire developer Garena’s regulations for the LBFF allow spot owners the ability to rebrand their team. As part of the deal, Figueiredo keeps 10% of all HUMMER income related to the Free Fire team.

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HUMMER also addressed salaries in FIFA, a scene not as relevant as CS:GO or Free Fire, especially in Brazil. FIFA players at the organisation earn around R$2.000 (~£322) to R$3.000 (~£483) per month.

Regarding sponsorship deals, HUMMER promotes Fictorbank as its main partner, a brand that is part of the holding company which funds the organisation. Gaming furniture company ThunderX3 and supplements brand Gamer Power also sponsor the organisation. According to Albuquerque, ThunderX3 paid HUMMER R$120.000 (~£19,300) in exchange for six months of brand exposure as part of the deal.

Albuquerque said he hopes that by disclosing costs, companies will feel more confident when negotiating to invest in the scene. “Many companies still haven’t entered [esports] but are curious about how much it will cost to invest, how much I will earn, and how much my brand will be shown inside this huge community,” he concluded.

“The more endemic and non-endemic entries, the better it is for us, it is good for the whole community.”

Victor Frascarelli, Journalist
Victor Frascarelli is a Brazilian esports business journalist focused on the LATAM market. Previously at The Esports Observer for two years, Victor enjoys all things competitive, from League of Legends to football to chess to CS:GO.