The Department of Justice is investigating whether the Overwatch League is in violation of federal antitrust laws, according to Dot Esports.
The league’s soft salary cap and a reported competitive balance tax are the focus of the probe, being led by trial attorney Kathleen Simpson Kiernan of the DOJ’s antitrust division.
Teams are held to a certain threshhold that they are allowed to pay players with the soft salary cap. Anything spent beyond the cap on players reportedly is matched in payments to the league, with the funds then redistributed to teams as a means of competitive balance.
Players in the league don’t have a union, which would be at odds with the imposition of a salary cap. The league could apply for an exemption if its players were represented by a union and agreed to the cap and tax.
“We have received an inquiry from the Department of Justice and are cooperating accordingly,” parent company Activision Blizzard said in a statement to Dot Esports.
The company reportedly instructed teams to maintain any records of player salaries during the investigation.
–Field Level Media