The generosity of NiceWigg, NRG and the Apex community forced EA into a U-turn on their decision to only fund travel for 20 teams at LAN.
EA reversed their decision to only provide funding to 20 of the 40 teams qualified for the ALGS Playoff LAN in Sweden last night. Their decision came after NiceWigg, NRG and others came together to crowdfund struggling teams. There was also widespread outrage at the original decision.
The need for rival teams and community members to ensure that all 40 teams could attend LAN was seen as highly embarrassing for EA.
NRG offered to pay for SCRY's flights and hotels
The Apex Community has always been generous. People pitched in to fund the first Pro League console player's PCs. Once again, the stepped in to help when they needed it.
In an amazing show of sportsmanship, NRG offered to pay for SCRY to travel and stay in Sweden for the LAN event, despite them having a rival team competing at the same event.
NiceWigg, Nokokopuffs were also set to help fund team SCRY
Team SCRY also received donations from Nokokopuffs and NiceWigg to help them fund their time in Sweden. This generosity was heartwarming. However, it should not have been needed and it is right that EA are finally stepping in to do the right thing.
Their spot has been hard earned and their gameplay should be what gets them on the plane to Sweden ultimately, not generous donations. The irony being that Apex Legends streaming is still a far better way to earn money than playing Apex competitively. This community out-cry, and U-turn will hopefully be the start of Apex competitive being properly funded.
Teams with orgs also needed financial support
While SCRY have do not have an org backing them they were not alone. Several teams with orgs were faced with missing out on the LAN spot that they earned. This extreme cost does not just affect orgless teams, some teams on smaller orgs still have to fund their own way without EA's help.
KiingZ, who plays for XenGG in South America, finished 5th in the Pro League Split 2. He and his team grinded a packed schedule, playing 36 matches of Apex against the best in their region.
Before last nights change, they could not attend Apex LAN without additional sponsorship. In a smaller region than SCRY, their local events have less prize money. Their matches are not streamed on the PlayApex channel, and their brand is therefore much smaller.
KiingZ: "I basically have to invest all my money to go compete in something it took me more than 2 years to achieve."
esports.gg spoke to KiingZ about their situation (pre-EA announcement) "I am able to go on my own, but my teammates can't. I have the money from some championships saved up and I could use that to go, but basically I would be putting all my finances into it".
Should a competitor have to use their savings to attend a LAN event? Why does team XenGG not deserve support, but 100 Thieves do? KiingZ noted that Apex LAN is not following the example of most other esports.
"The format I find very exploitative on the part of EA. Since all other games that I follow the teams receive at least minimal support to go compete, we do not receive financial aid, nor even have any visibility in our scene. The transmissions of the region are completely anonymous and without any disclosure by EA, which hardly brings ORGs interest here".
"I basically have to invest all my money to go compete in something it took me more than 2 years to achieve."
When asked how he'd feel if he had to give up his Apex LAN spot due to finances, he said:
"If I can't go to LAN because of money, it's basically as if all my effort is useless, everything I've trained for, all the time invested, is just thrown away. And all this because EA refuses to give even the slightest help to the teams"
NiceWigg, Rogue and others step in to help fund XenGG
After KiingZ spoke to esports.gg several sources, including NiceWigg, Rogue and Complexity sent funds to XenGG. This means that before EA's U-turn they had also found a way to make LAN in Sweden.
Generosity of people like NiceWigg forces U-turn
Thankfully, after articles from the community, huge discussion on Twitter and Reddit, EA changed their mind.
Lots of credit has to go to people like NiceWigg, Rogue, NRG, Nokokpuffs and others. Their generosity was incredible to see, but their kind-hearted actions also made a change for the benefit of all players. This change will also apply to the upcoming LAN in the Summer too. EA did clarify that this is for Year 2 only, however it is hard to see how they walk back this change in Year 3 and beyond.
There is still room for improvement however, there is still no funding for team coaches, managers or other staff. However we are at least guaranteed to see all 40 teams who earned their spot at LAN.