U.S. Department of Justice Looks Into Overwatch League’s Soft Salary Cap Policy

Dot Esports: “The U.S. Department of Justice antitrust division is probing the Overwatch League over its soft salary cap policy that discourages teams from excess spending, sources familiar with that inquiry told Dot Esports.”

“The probe is being headed by DOJ trial attorney Kathleen Simpson Kiernan, who works for the Civil Conduct Task Force subdivision of the antitrust division in Washington. Kiernan and other DOJ attorneys have contacted and interviewed several former Overwatch League employees, according to sources. The nature of Kiernan’s investigation is not criminal, sources said. A spokesperson for the DOJ declined to comment on June 6.”

“At the center of Kiernan’s inquiry is the lack of a players’ union, which would allow the Overwatch League to apply for a “nonstatutory labor exemption.” That status has been granted to the NFL, NBA, and other pro sports leagues who have labor unions.”

“Kiernan’s team has also contacted Activision Blizzard, the operator of the Overwatch League. As a result, Activision Blizzard has communicated to team executives not to tamper with or destroy information regarding player salaries, a routine measure taken in cases of a government investigation.”

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