Versus Sports announced that they are signing the current Madden Champion, Frank “Stiff” Sardoni, Jr. this Thursday. Stiff defeated Eric “Problem” Wright in June to claim the title of 2016 Madden Champion.
This marks the first step for Versus into eSports. They are a new organization that now has the defending champion of Madden on their roster. That is not bad for their first signing. Stiff told ESPN, “I’m making this my primary thing right now.” A lot of players have taken the professional route because EA decided to increase the prize pool for 2017. A $1 million prize pool is enough for players like Stiff to leave their current jobs because of the big money pursuit.
What does a player like Stiff mean for a new organization? It is super important for teams to secure players that companies want to sponsor. This industry still has a lot of investors coming into it with not a lot of knowledge. Industries tend to fall apart that way. Versus seems to have taken the first proper step by securing a player that is marketable. Someone like Stiff has a certain level of respect behind his name.
Stiff is not the first Madden player to get signed to an actual eSports organization. Rise Nation signed TRaw earlier in the Summer to start their leap into Madden. This should be a sign of things to come. Madden has been attracting more advertising and sponsors, so naturally, teams will start to pick players up.