The tech industry has seen a massive amount of layouts and pay cuts this year. This trend is now affecting esports, too.

ESL FACEIT Group, the owners of the multimillion-dollar ESL Pro Tour circuit, allegedly cut talent rates by approximately 15%. This information was brought to light thanks to Richard Lewis, one of the most influential esports journalists.

According to his investigation, the ESL FACEIT Group talent pay cuts were initially presented as a "one-off" situation. This happened during the coordination of ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023, and many agreed to these terms. However, the Saudi Arabia-owned company has started requesting the same pay cuts for every tournament they organize.

Why Dota 2 talents have not spoken on this matter?

The ESL talent pay cuts started just after the Dota Pro Circuit was canceled by Valve. During those uncertain times, many felt asking for better payments could result in less opportunities to work with them. Let's not forget the PGL roadmap and Blast Slam Series was not announced yet.

One of Richard Lewis sources told him that many felt obliged to take the pay cuts, after it was confirmed that it was a permanent thing. This is what they told them according to his article:

"When the biggest Dota TO [tournament operator] says that if you don’t take pay cuts, they’re either going to hire fewer people or run fewer events, then you have to agree. No one is going to risk getting no work, so in the end, everyone agreed to it."

Now that many tournament operators are joining the Dota 2 scene, ESL may have backed on their talent pay cuts. But, as of today, ESL FACEIT Group has decided to stay silent after Richard Lewis tried to contact them to get their version of this story.

Community reaction to ESL talent pay cuts

Regardless of this article not getting much attention (since Dota 2 7.36 patch just came out), many Reddit users found this infuriating. But some others found some fault on Valve for deciding to stop taking care of the pro scene.

Reddit's opinon on ESL talent pay cuts
Reddit's opinon on ESL talent pay cuts

This story is still developing, so make sure to follow Richard Lewis valuable work on his personal site.

We, at, will keep you updated if any new information comes to light. Don't forget to check more of our Dota 2 content.