Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider is one of League of Legends’ most divisive figures, yet whatever fans think about the jungle free agent, his wealth of experience of within the eSports industry makes the German an invaluable source of insight. In an interview Blitz eSports, Amazing shed light on some of the darker aspects of the eSports industry, notably the lack of agent representation in the European scene.
If there is one thing that Austin “Link” Shin’s ‘Donezo Manifesto’ unveiled to the eSports community, it’s that there are a number of underlying, unaddressed issues in the industry. Having enjoyed a decorated career with spells at some of League of Legends best organisations, including Team SoloMid and Fnatic, Amazing too has his own concerns to voice with regards to the state of the competitive eSports scene.
In addition to the common qualms regarding gaming house hygiene and general living conditions – citing an occasion during his Origen playing days, when the management neglected to pay energy bills and the house’s power was cut off – Amazing flagged an otherwise understated issues within the eSports scene, agent representation:
“Quite frankly, we’re all bound by contracts and in most cases those contracts can include scenarios in which you can be put in the sub position.
“If you haven’t worked with agents before or you weren’t cognizant of the fact that you should probably negotiate a proper buy-out, you can be fucked. Completely fucked.
“You’re stuck in a contract, get no money, and can’t be sold. It’s extremely, extremely sad.”
Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider
Within Europe, very few League of Legends eSports professionals are known to work with experienced agents, often resulting in situations where contractual relegations remain on the table for players who can’t get along with their organisations.
Ryan Morrison, founding partner at law firm, Morrison & Lee LLP, is working to bring widespread agent representation to the eSports industry. The company currently represents around 250 eSports players, though Morrison fears that only 10 to 15 percent of eSports players have an attorney or agent:
“The contracts I saw [in the beginning] were disgusting, the ways these players were getting treated were ridiculous.
“Kids locked into contracts for six years at $500 a month, or tournament owners never paying the players after they won. There were a million clauses in these contracts that made these kids feel like they were trapped there.
“We have very successful team owners tell players, ‘If you talk to a lawyer, you are off the team.’”
Ryan Morrison, Founding Partner at Morrison & Lee LLP
Typically, eSports player contracts are renewed on an annual basis, offering little job security for talent, though they are slowing beginning to trend longer. Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett was recently contracted for three years after completing a move from Team Liquid to Immortals, though ultimately he was sold after just a single competitive split.
Whilst the eSports industry continues to grow at a phenomenal rate, both Amazing and Ryan Morrison’s statements testify to the dark, underlying issues still prevalent within the scene. Ironically perceived as one of the primary sources of evil and monetary corruption within a number of traditional sports, the lack of agent representation is one of the biggest issues facing the eSports industry today.