Jace Hall has responded to claims published by VP Esports that the now defunct H1Z1 Pro League spent millions on parties and celebrity appearances, as well as manipulating viewing statistics to show investors.
VPESports concluded a five-month investigation on November 20, which accused league organizers of “lavish spending”, showing manipulated viewing figures to investors involved in Caesar’s Entertainment, where the first and only split was played.
The investigation places Jace Hall “at the center of it all”, and makes a specific focus on his character and performance as Chairman of the league, citing former employees as calling him “super abusive” and that “he just wants to play video games and have others run his business.”
On November 21, Jace Hall broadcasted a live stream on Periscope which lasted over three hours, where he meticulously goes through the article and gives his side of the story.
Firstly, he highlights the figure of ‘$27 million’ associated with the Pro League as “patently false”, and saying that the five month investigation “might have benefitted from being a little bit longer.”
In regards to the accusation of viewership manipulation, Hall states “I can assure you there has been no conscious manipulation of viewer statistics, at all. There’s no manipulation. […] All of the numbers that related to what we were doing, were the numbers that we got, from the companies we paid, to do all the analytics.”
Hall then moved on to address the ‘Lavish Spending’ section, which stated “over $2.5 million dollars in expenses and appearance fees bringing in Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, Jaryd “Summit1G” Lazar, Timothy “TimTheTatMan” Betar, Stephanie “FemSteph” Driscoll, and actor Michelle Rodriguez.”
Hall does not explicitly deny these claims, rather says that there was a “marketing budget”, separate to budgets for teams and other costs. “I don’t know the specifics of what a social media influencer got paid, I don’t know that. I do know that all of that fell under the marketing expense of promoting the league.”
He argues against the use of the word “extravagant” to describe the spending, dismissing the claim as the monies were part of the marketing budget, which did not overlap with other areas of spending, comparing it to the launch of a video game and related marketing costs.
The investigation also claims that the Pro League’s failure to pay organizations promised money has left some players and support staff unpaid and even homeless.
Hall states that the league is still within its contractual timeframe to pay these organizations by the end of the year, and so any non-payment to players is directly the responsibility of organizations.
“If we paid the stipend tomorrow, [organizations] got everything in the contract that they were promised.”
Perhaps most bizarre, was Hall’s response to accusations of being “super abusive” to former employees, which he speculated may have been because he beat them in video games.
“I know exactly what this is. I whipped so many people’s asses at video games […] and I’ll just beat them so bad, and that can feel abusive. 100%. Like Street Fighter, I’ll perfect you, I’ve perfected people multiple times and I would say that that could be construed as super abusive.”
He also confirms that the league paid for audience members to enter the arena from the nearby Ceasar’s employment center, saying “I don’t think there is anything in this statement that is false”, explaining that foot traffic in the area for esports spectators was very low, and they wanted to fill the stadium seating.
You can watch Jace Hall’s full response live stream below.