StarLadder reportedly didn’t pay Dota 2 minor talent for six months

By Olivia Richman


Dec 19, 2019

Reading time: 2 min

StarLadder is reportedly failing to pay talent employed at a Dota 2 minor six months ago within a reasonable frame of time. 

The Valve-sponsored ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2 ran from June 12 to 16, and some members of the talent team recently told Dot Esports that it took more than six months to get paid for their services. 

It’s unfortunately become common knowledge that the esports industry is slow to pay talent and teams. It can often take three or even four months for event participants to see their money. Speaking with Dot Esports, a member of the ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor talent team said that it was “the norm” for tournament organizers to take three months. Another source told the news outlet that ESL takes about four months to pay them. 

But StarLadder’s six month delay is of great concern, especially since journalist Richard Lewis reported that some Counter-Strike: Global Offensive talent were not yet paid their fees for working at the Berlin Major back in August. 

StarLadder has been hosting popular and large esports tournaments since 2011, which makes it even more shocking that they’d be this disorganized with their payments. 

While Dota 2 analyst Alan “Nahaz” Bester told Dot Esports that StarLadder isn’t the “bad guy,” he believes esport organizers as a whole need to have higher professional standards “across the board.” 

StarLadder claims they paid the talent a long time ago, but were not able to provide Dot Esports with an exact date. But the organizers did reveal that there was an “ongoing issue” with one member of talent, although it will be “solved soon.” 

Esports’ poor payment history

This kind of news almost disturbingly does not make headlines in the esports industry. Event organizers not paying talent and teams seems to happen constantly. 

CSGO organization Windigo Gaming announced in October that they were going to shut down due to not getting their prize money from WESG. The team published a Reddit post outlining how they hadn’t been paid $6,000 from placing at ESL Pro League’s Season 9 or the $6,000 they won at ESL Pro League’s Season 10. Then there was the $40,000 from MocheXL and the $500,000 from WESG. 

Then there are teams that do receive prize money and then don’t give any of it to the players who competed. Former Ninjas in Pyjamas Dota 2 coach Aaron “Clairvoyance” Kim shared a Twitlonger post in which he accused the organization of not paying him owed prize money after the Dota Pit Minor. Other teams just don’t pay their players’ salaries altogether, like Galatasary, who have been accused multiple times. 

It’s become quite a concerning trend in the esports industry, and it’s even more concerning that nobody is shocked at this point when a player reveals on Twitter that they have been denied a portion of their paycheck or prize money. 


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