Shortly after X Games Aspen, another established American organization entered the Counter-Strike scene. It was no secret that Team SoloMid had been looking to acquire a team for some time, and had designs on the Danish players for Team Dignitas since they drew up their shortlist of potential candidates. And on Jan. 25, Dignitas announced that SoloMid had acquired its players.
In a bold statement of intent, the new TSM players will be, for now at least, the highest paid CS:GO team in the world—a new landmark for the growing esport. It was “an offer no CS:GO player could refuse,” a source close to the team told the Daily Dot.
“The players are being paid $3,000 a month each, which is a vast amount in Counter-Strike terms,” the person added. “The teams that have been considered the best in the world haven’t even earned that kind of money. They have also been promised 100 percent of the Valve sticker money, which if they were to get into a legends pack could be as much as $400,000 divided between the team.” SoloMid will also take no percentage of any prize money, either from online tournaments or LAN events, according to this person.
The source added that the players will also enjoy a higher CPM rate on Twitch—the value of a thousand impressions on a particular advertisement—and will stand to make a substantial amount on streaming revenue. SoloMid have a long history, particularly in League of Legends, of turning their players into successful streamers. A recent analysis on esports website GoldPer10 placed their League team mid-laner as earning at least $20,000 per month in addition to any salary or prize money.
The move could have a significant impact both externally and internally. “Considering there are professional teams out there still getting paid in the hundreds, I imagine there’ll be some awkward meetings as a result of this,” the person explained. “Not to mention what the League of Legends squad, who built the brand, are going to think of newly acquired CS:GO players making this sort of money.”
LCS players earn a minimum salary of $12,500 per split from Riot, with extra contributions from the organizations that typically bring the annual total up to $60,000-$70,000.
How this sort of money will impact the Counter-Strike ecosystem remains to be seen. But it clearly reinforces what many of us already know, namely that CS:GO is rapidly becoming one of the biggest esports in the world.
Image via Team SoloMid