League of Legends (LoL) pro player for G2 Esports, Luka “Perkz” Perković, could be on the way to setting the record for the highest known transfer fee in esports thus far, with his team reportedly quoting other squads almost US$5 million for his services.
ESPN Esports’ Jacob Wolf reported that G2, which competes in the LoL European Championship (LEC), is aiming to send Perkz to either fellow LEC teams Misfits Gaming or Team Vitality, or a team competing in North America’s LoL Championship Series (LCS), withCloud9 (C9), Evil Geniuses (EG), 100 Thieves and Team SoloMid named as potential destinations.
Wolf added that C9 is Perkz’s preferred choice, where he will be reunited with former G2 teammate Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen, with whom he won three LEC (then known as the EU LCS) titles from 2016 to 2017.
However, Perkz’s transfer fee of almost US$5 million remains the biggest obstacle for any deal, though he is arguably the most decorated player in the history of the LEC.
Perkz won the Rookie of the Year award in the Spring Split of the 2016 EU LCS, which he helped G2 claim in his first year as a member of the squad.
He went on to lead the team to three-straight Top Four finishes in the LoL World Championship from 2018 to 2020 — including a second place finish last year — and is the only European player to have won eight titles in the history of the LEC.
It should be no surprise that a player of Perkz’s calibre can command such a high transfer fee, the highest known amount in all of esports.
For context, C9 acquired support player Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme from Dignitas last year in exchange for Academy player Johnson "Johnsun" Nguyen and a then-record amount of US$1.5 million in cash considerations.
Other big buyouts
To better put Perkz’s transfer fee in perspective, the biggest known buyout in CS:GO was a US$500,000 deal that sent Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) player Nikola “NiKo” Kovac from mousesports to FaZe Clan in 2017.
The initial fee reportedly extended into the US$1 million range but was reduced eventually, though it remains the biggest known transaction to ever occur in CS:GO, even if it pales in comparison to the deal for Perkz.
NiKo has since been transferred from FaZe to G2’s CS:GO team in what is believed to be the actual biggest transaction in the history of the scene, though it cannot be confirmed as the details of the deal have not been revealed to the public.
Other esports titles have even smaller transfer fees. Earlier this year, Forbes reported that EG paid CIS organisation Virtus.pro US$75,000 in order to acquire Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev, one of the most decorated players to have come from the region.
However, it should be noted that salaries and transfer fees for Dota 2 players are smaller due to the scene’s unique structure. It is entirely centred upon The International (TI10), Dota 2’s annual marquee tournament, which pays out millions of dollars to its participants.
The latest iteration of the tournament, TI10, currently holds the record for the biggest prize pool in all of esports with a US$40 million prize pool. The event was originally planned for August this year, but has been delayed to next year by the coronavirus pandemic.
With all that said, once the deal for Perkz does get signed, he should set another record, this time for the biggest transfer fee in all of esports, counting deals both known and unknown to the public.