I mean, just look at the esports news dated today(-ish):
Tonight I’ll be recording the first test run of the new Monday episode of the lowercase esports podcast for February, and I’ll try to offer a summary of the recent past and upcoming events of Dota 2 as well as this week’s episode of the Esports Morning podcast with keekerdc.
This morning, a couple of writers that go by the handles @awake_gg and @csgodevil published the results of an investigation into a wider array of dealings that players from other parts of esports have had with Steven Maida, CEO of Luminosity Gaming. The piece contains several new tidbits of information including a suggestion that Maida is in default on $200k of “prior collective tournament winnings” or prize money.
Not paying out prize money in a respectable amount of time is probably the biggest chump move that any esports entity could make, regardless if the entity in question is a tournament organizer or a team owner. But there’s more!
The article also contains a copy of a freelancer’s contract complete with broadly-worded and suspect language. To start with, any contractor can be bought out for a simple $25k no-questions-asked fee, which seems like a great signal (to me, in my opinion, in my estimation, etc.) that LG bills itself more as a stepping stone organization and borderline get-rich-quick scheme instead of an esports organization meant to build and foster long-lasting business relationships.
Lastly, the post made to clutchorkick.gg included some redacted Skype conversation logs where contracted players under the Luminosity brand would have conversations with Maida about various aspects of their deal. One player would ask about getting some equipment, and would be treated by Maida as if getting free computer components from sponsors was a normal occurrence in the life of a contractor for LG. In addition to the dismissive way that Maida responds to the anonymous player’s inquiries about getting gear from sponsors, Maida throws his current sponsors under the bus.
Even if you assume that Maida is taken out of context by these particular Skype screenshots, I’m not sure that you can give him credit for being down to Earth by being so flippant about the end of a sponsorship deal.
All sorts of red flags here.
Does “the players and the organization felt it was time for a fresh start” mean anything other than Complexity couldn’t pay them enough? Evil Geniuses bought out a team contract for a record amount?
It’d be one thing to think that this was a lose-lose move for everyone involved, but it’s not. The players are definitely stepping up from nearly falling off the radar to winning the game’s most prestigious competition. It’s definitely a win-lose situation, though. Complexity has to start all over again finding a team that can compete on the COD franchise’s stage while generating a fraction of the hype that their championship-caliber team had.
I’m sure the real reasons behind the deal haven’t been disclosed, but I just can’t see how Complexity thought it was a benefit to let a good thing go. I suppose they just have to double down on their LCS-bound League of Legends team, instead.
How weird is it that MLG is looking to get back into the SC2 scene? I guess it was going to happen at some point or another, but I would have thought the search wouldn’t have taken such a public angle.
Then again, with his heart-on-his-sleeve history of interacting with the game’s community, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised at all.
MLG has a fond place in my esports heart because it was the first real event that I made an effort to attend. SC2 was important to it over the last couple of years and being the only real American event series that makes an effort to survive has a lot to do with it. It wasn’t as important as the Korean league or the Dreamhack series, but being all things to nearly all of the English speaking community raised it up to the level of the other international successes.
This afternoon, Sundance briefly clarified his original tweet:
Now the original call makes more sense. MLG certainly has the reach and the reputation that could make it an appealing venue for an up-and-coming SC2 league based in the North American region, or even one-off events that fail to realize being able to hold multiple events.
Here’s hoping that one of the two people that actually asked Sundance for contact information over Twitter (or anyone that has his info, really) can give MLG something to put on stage that it can be proud of.