OGN casters decline MSI due to below market pay from Riot


The Mid-Season Invitational is right around the corner, but the OGN casters will not be attending due to an issue with Riot.

A bomb was dropped on us by the OnGameNet (OGN) League of Legends casters earlier today.

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League is having its Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) at the beginning of May in Shanghai. This is usually an event that brings nothing but good to the community, but it’s starting off extremely rough this year with the announcement that Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, Erik “DoA” Lonnquist and Christopher “PapaSmithy” Smithy have refused to attend due to Riot not willing to pay them a fair amount for their work.

In the announcement made by PapaSmithy, he revealed that Riot is only willing to give them “approximately 40 percent to 70 percent” of the rate received by other casters for major events at top games.  He went on to explain that, “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.”

DoA took to Reddit to say, “I want to stress that we aren’t making this statement lightly and it’s not like turning down even what Riot was offering isn’t a big deal for us. Its is. The bottom line though is right now Riot’s freelance talent compensation is below the standard amount casters are receiving for every other esports title. If we simply go along with that it sets a bad precedent for anyone who wants to make casting a viable career path. We can’t do that.”

MonteCristo had this to say:

This is utterly shocking and disappointing to say the least. League of Legends is the most played computer game in the entire world, and yet they are being cheap in an area like this? Casting might not seem like a big deal to Riot, but it definitely makes a difference to the viewer. Having to listen to people like Phil Simms and Reggie Miller can kill the pleasure of watching a game, and in League, MonteCristo and DoA can make even the worst games pleasurable.

This is an awful look for Riot, and they are already taking a lot of heat for it – as they should.

I want to stress that we aren’t making this statement lightly

Who knows what this will lead to. This very well could be the end of the OGN casters working at an event produced by Riot Games ever again. Riot could attempt to fix this whole situation and renegotiate with the OGN casters, but that doesn’t seem likely. Maybe they could team up again down the road, but this MSI thing is too big of a deal to quickly recover from.

It’s sad because while Riot doesn’t need these casters, any event is better with them. And maybe Riot is thinking like that: we don’t need them. Riot has tons of casters to work with, and if they can get them to accept their rates, then maybe all of this is worth it for them.

However, similarly, the OGN casters don’t need them. They will still live well without casting a Riot event ever again, so they shouldn’t settle for anything less than what they deserve. The biggest losers out of all of this isn’t even Riot, but it’s the fans. Maybe people look forward to hearing the insight these casters have to offer, and it’s going to suck having MSI without them.

Please, Riot, do the right thing and pay these people in the future.