Former Sentinels controller pro player Jared “Zombs” Gitlin shared in his most recent Twitch stream that his team only received half of their US$20,000 prize money for placing 9th-12th at last year’s Valorant Champions tournament.
He explained that Riot Games used some of the prize pool from Valorant Champions 2021 to pay for add-on expenses of their tournament.
Zombs says Riot Games only gave Sentinels half their Valorant Champions 2021 prize money
North American powerhouse squad Sentinels were favorites to win last year’s Valorant world championship. However, the team failed to make it into the playoffs. They first lost to Team Liquid in the second group stage match, and were upset and eliminated by KRU Esports in the Group B decider, finishing in 9th-12th place.
In total, Sentinels won US$20,000 at Valorant Champions 2021, but according to Zombs, the team did not receive their prize money in full because Riot Games used some of the funds from the prize pool to play for COVID-19 tests and additional costs incurred during the tournament.
“We got $20,000,” he shared. “That’s US$4,000 a player, and the organization takes a percentage, which isn’t that big, but my payout for that was just US$1,000.”
At Valorant Champions 2021, safety protocols in place saw pro players take COVID-19 tests daily. Team Liquid’s Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom and OpTic Gaming’s Victor “Victor” Wong for example, both tested positive, which forced their teams to compete off stage.
Nivera and Victor played from isolated rooms, while their teammates and their opponents competed from the event’s quarantine facilities, which could have further added to Riot Games’ operational costs.
“We got thousands of dollars less because they took money out of the prize pool to support their COVID-19 tests and random costs of their tournament,” the former Sentinels player shared. “They took a bunch of fees for no reason.”