Following several cryptic tweets from various members of the CS:GO broadcast talent pool about tournament organizers not making payments on time, Dexerto has learned that one of the worst offenders for delayed payments is the Ukraine based company Starladder.
Starladder was selected by Valve to host the most recent CS:GO Major that was held in Berlin after a series of high profile tournaments. While the event itself was mostly hailed as a success, it has now become apparent that the majority of the on-air talent that worked the event, which took place back in August, has yet to be paid their fees at the time of writing.
It is often the case that broadcast talent does not often speak out publicly about delayed payments from tournament organizers as there is a worry that in doing so you guarantee the company will not hire you again in the future.
This is especially worrying if the company in question is responsible for organizing some of the most prestigious events on the calendar. However, many of those affected by the delayed payments feel they can no longer wait for the company to resolve the issue in their own time as the holiday season begins.
One such affected person is Henry 'HenryG' Greer, who recently was recognized for his work when he won the Esports Awards commentator of the year. He was happy to go on record and explain that he would no longer be working with Starladder in any capacity until they settle their debts.
“From the outside you would assume that everything is just peachy within the esports ecosystem and it's smiles all round. Sadly, if you take a look under the hood it reveals a grim outlook for everyone involved who isn't directly on the payroll of the tournament organizers," he said.
"If you're a freelancer, and I can only comment on broadcast talent regarding this, working with Starladder means unfortunately you will have to pull out all the stops, commit to their events, deliver a world-class show only to be paid when they feel like it, which is usually about 3-4 months after the show at best.
"They are by far the worst offenders when it comes to this sort of thing and I can confirm that as of writing this, on December 3, I have not been paid for the Valve partnered Berlin Major that took place earlier this Summer even after being informed that the invoice had been taken care of in November.
"I find this disgraceful and I can't imagine how bad it is for others who don’t have large platforms or regular work. I won't be working any more of their events until they have cleared all their debts with all of my colleagues.”
We reached out to several members of Counter-Strike broadcast workers that were employed at the Berlin Major and found that the vast majority were still awaiting payment for their contribution to the event.
The situation becomes more convoluted when Dexerto learned a couple of members of the broadcast talent had been paid, raising even further questions about the methods employed by the company when it comes to payment.
“There’s no mystery to it,” one told Dexerto off the record. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If they ever think you’re going to tweet about it or go public then they will put you at the front of the queue for payment. It just makes it awkward when you’ve been paid and your co-workers haven’t.”
This was corroborated by another, who said that they were able to accelerate payment by threatening to go public on Twitter in regards to the matter.
“It took over three months to get paid after being ignored or told the classic ‘soon, it’ll be this week’” they added.
Another source who has worked multiple events with Starladder and asked to remain anonymous, said that it wasn’t just payment for work at the CS:GO Major that was outstanding. Some, they said, were still chasing payment from the CS:GO Minor events cycle that took place as far back as July.
“As someone who’s done events with Starladder over many years it has certainly got worse. It never used to be like this and sadly a lot of key staff keep leaving the company making things even more complicated," they said.
"Now these payment issues that I’ve been involved in are three, four and even five months late. It is just not acceptable. You struggle to live and get by and then they just lie to you saying this week, this week and it’s like an endless battle where we waste so much energy just to get paid.”
Dexerto also understands that similar issues have been affecting the broadcast talent that has worked Starladder’s PUBG events.
We have reached out to Starladder for comment and will update this report accordingly.