Salary and opportunity seems to have played the biggest role.
For fans, it may have been a bit surprising to see Evil Geniuses pack up and leave North American Dota 2 while also dropping its entire previous roster despite fielding some of the best players in the world. However, very early on it became obvious that cutting operating costs within the division was also part of the play.
It has long been rumored, and even lightly confirmed, that EG was one of a handful of top esports organizations that would pay its Dota players a salary ranging upwards of $100,000 depending on their pedigree. And, according to former-EG staple Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen, that was a key reason why he and his teammates are no longer under that banner.
In one of his first streams since officially signing with Shopify Rebellion as the Canadian org enters Dota, Cr1t spent a bit of time answering questions for his chat. This included one instance of a fan asking if his new org pays lower salaries than EGto which the top-level support player gave a blunt response.
Listen, the reason we are not with EG is because they didn’t want to pay our salaries, Cr1t said. Do the deduction yourself, do they pay more or less?
According to the player, EG wanted a cheaper roster and to pay whats fair to them. And, despite being released for that reason the former lineup has no hard feelings because they were overpaid, at least in his opinion, and treated well throughout some difficult years.
Specifically, Cr1t mentioned how even when the team was unable to play certain events during 2020 and 2021 at the peak of the COVID pandemic, EG still readily paid their salary despite many other orgs refusing to do so.
We definitely were overpaid in EG. And they always took good care of us, Cr1t said. During COVID-19, when it was really hard to compete for us because we had global players and we couldn’t really compete in EU tournaments and stuff, EG still paid our salaries. And a lot of companies were not paying salaries to the people who were inactive. They didn’t have to do it, you know? I still have a lot of respect for EG.
While we will likely never know the exact salaries for Dota players across all regions, some info about SA salaries did leak earlier this month from a former professional player.
In that info dump, Diego “Jericho” Jimenez noted that EG is paying its new roster around $12,000 per player per month in salarysomething that would be less than its NA roster but reportedly more than the previous SA average as costs have gone up as the region continues to improve. So if that is the price of a tier one team in SA, fans can only speculate what EG was previously paying and what its former players are making now with Shopify.