UPDATE (7:36 p.m. ET): An ELEAGUE spokesperson issued the following statement: “All teams have been compensated per our agreements with them. We value our relationships with all teams and will continue to provide a best-in-class experience for them.”
Six Counter-Strike teams that participated in Season 1 of ELEAGUE have still not been paid as the result of a disagreement between the teams and ELEAGUE about contract language and exactly how much they are owed, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.
Cloud9, Team Liquid, Counter Logic Gaming, NRG, compLexity and Team SoloMid are holding out for an additional $30,000 they believe they are owed, according to multiple sources. The dispute stems from the interpretation in their contract with ELEAGUE that they would earn a $30,000 appearance fee in addition to any prize money earned, but one source said those teams were informed by ELEAGUE that that the appearance fee and prize money were one in the same.
According to a source, section 1d of the contract between the teams and ELEAGUE stated: “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 ELEAGUE’s Season 1 prize pool breakdown, finishing 15-24th earned a team $30,000. The dissenting teams contend, based on the wording of the contract, that the $30,000 appearance fee is in addition to the prize pool.
Both sides are in a stalemate, according to multiple sources. As a result, the six teams, which are all part of the Professional Esports Association, have been paid nothing from Season 1. According to a source, ELEAGUE told the PEA teams their invoices were too high, and the teams have not re-sent them because they don’t want to miss out on the amount they interpret being owed.
One source explained it is highly likely other teams overlooked the contractual language, were paid their prize pool money and, based on the PEA teams’ interpretation, should be owed an additional $30,000 appearance fee. ELEAGUE began in May with 24 teams in Season 1 and has since run a second season with 16 teams that concluded last month. ELEAGUE will also host the next Counter-Strike Major later this month in Atlanta and has plans for a third season.
There is concern among teams the same scenario will happen with earnings from Season 2 because there was no clarification in the teams’ contracts, according to a source.
ELEAGUE did not initially respond to a request for comment.
Cover photo courtesy of Turner Sports/ELEAGUE