StarCraft player Flash claims teams capped salaries at $60,000

Zorine Te

Former StarCraft pro Lee “Flash” Young-ho has revealed some new information about South Korean esports organizations, specifically how they allegedly capped StarCraft 2 professional player salaries at 70 million won ($59,669).

Flash first revealed the information during a live stream segment on Afreeca TV titled “Eating, drinking room” that has since been uploaded to YouTube. We’ve translated segments of the footage here.

In the video, he claims that administrators of several pro teams limited the money that players could earn in StarCraft 2. These administrators wanted to invest more money into League of Legends instead.

“Now that I’m done with StarCraft, I can talk about it. The most regrettable thing, Zest was really awesome, right? It doesn’t matter how good you are, in StarCraft 2 [the administrators] set the pay cap to 70 million won, they’re not going to give you more than that,” Flash said.

“When I retired, I was so sad when I heard this. Even though he’s doing really well, it’s a sad reality that he’s only making 70 million won. The reality is that [the administrators] had to invest mostly in League of Legends. When this became a reality I really missed when [StarCraft was big.]”

“They set it to 70 million. The most a person gets is 75,000,000, maybe. That’s what the salary is, no matter how well you do.”

At the time of writing, 75 million won equates to USD $63,862.

“I will say it straight out, even when I retired from StarCraft 2, I made over 100 million. I was the only one …to earn that much. I think even if I still played [my salary] wouldn’t have gone down because KT Rolster really liked me.”

“Another thing I was sad about was when someone compared the salaries in League of Legends and StarCraft. When nobody’s getting 100 million in StarCraft while LoL is getting a lot, it’s really sad.”

“I’m sad and I’m really sorry because I think, did I retire too early? That kind of thought comes in my mind. I feel sorry for my underclassmen, my fellow StarCraft players that came after me. I really wish that all of them end up doing well.”

In October, the Korean eSports Association announced the closure of the StarCraft ProLeague, the longest-running StarCraft league. Flash retired in December 2015, ending an eight-year career competing in StarCraft.