ELEAGUE, operated by television conglomerate Turner Broadcasting, invested into eSports one year ago, and has seen massive praise and success from the Counter-Strike eSports community. However, what has come to light recently from a report by Jason DeKay shows that ELEAGUE has still not paid the eSports organizations their respective appearance fees, and now is in a dispute over contract language.
The teams currently holding out and owed appearance fees of $30,000 are Cloud9, Team Liquid, Counter Logic Gaming, NRG, CompLexity, and Team SoloMid. The dispute comes from the contract language in which ELEAGUE paid the $30,000 appearance fees to the players of the corresponding teams, instead of the organization. In most circumstances, according to CEO of G2 eSports Ocelote, an appearance fee is paid to the organization, where they take a large cut, and pay out a smaller percentage to the players. This allows the organization to generate revenue on top of sponsorships, as most of the tournament prize pool winnings are paid to the players rather than the organization. The pay share between players and organizations for appearance fees and tournament prize pool winnings has been industry standard for sometime.
According to a source, the section of the contract that is being disputed is as follows: “For each Tournament, the League prize money and appearance fee budget will be at least US $1,200,000. The total potential payout (prize money plus appearance fees) for a team that wins its bracket each week and wins the Tournament will be at least US $380,000. The minimum appearance fees for a team will be US $30,000.”
According to the pay structure of the tournament, teams ranked 15th to 22nd received compensation of $30,000 in prize money. However, teams that are in disagreement believe that the $30,000 appearance fee is different than the prize money earned, and should be paid out accordingly.
Both sides of the dispute are currently in a stalemate, and ELEAGUE had this to say as a response