Multiple freelance League of Legends casters have signed an open letter announcing their boycotting of the Mid-Season International over pay rates.
Christopher MonteCristo” Mykles, Erik "DoA" Lonnquist, and Chris PapaSmithy” Smith were invited by Riot to cast the event, to take place in Shanghai this May, but turned down the offer through a joint statement.
"After all of us received invitations and negotiated with Riot Games to join the broadcast crew for this year’s Mid-Season Invitational, we failed to arrive at an industry standard rate for our services and therefore cannot work as casters in Shanghai," the statement reads.
All three are currently contracted by OnGameNet to provide English broadcast coverage of the Korean LoL League, the LCK.
The industry standard rate they spoke of was arrived at by speaking to fellow freelance casters for other eSports who negotiated rates in their respective games, includingCounter Strike: Global Offensive, DotA 2, Starcraft 2, Halo 5, and Hearthstone.
"We were surprised to discover from our peers that Riot’s offer to us was approximately 40% to 70% of the rate received by talent for major events in all of these titles," the statement continues.
"Since we are freelancers and not Riot employees, we rely on these contracts for our income and feel that we would damage our careers in the long term by accepting below-market rates.Furthermore, by agreeing to a significantly lower wage we fear that we may contribute to the regression of standards for freelance casters in the industry as a whole."
Riot are not short of other casters to call upon to provide commentary for the MSI event, however by taking a public stance in this way, Mykles et al are hoping to effect precedent in the growing industry.