onGamers News

North American Challenger League refuses to pay teams' prize money, owes $13,000

Several North American Challenger organizations have come forward regarding NACL refusing to pay a total of $13,000 of prize money.

Complexity, COGnitive Gaming and former players of Determined Gaming have all come forward, claiming to have received no prize winnings from their placements in the North American Challenger League - Season One and Two.

The North American Challenger League is accused of owing teams over $13,000. The North American Challenger League is a League of Legends amateur tournament, claiming to have a $35,000 prize pool in Season One and $20,000 in Season 2. The league is owned by Brad Fry, of the Frys Electronics family. He is also the CEO of COGnitive gaming, who competed versus Curse in Riot’s most recent promotion tournament. The North American Challenger league has worked with Riot Games on the North American Collegiate Qualifier.

Abe 'MeyeA' Nguyen, formerly of Team Complexity, is owed $6,000 in prize winnings. “NACL has not given us $6,000 that we're owed. The organization and players have been trying for months. Something shady is going on.”

A source that wished to remain anonymous, told onGamers, “I was told [Determined Gaming] would be getting [the prize money] a few weeks ago and then didn't hear anything else about it.”

Abe 'MeyeA' Nguyen

Complexity co-founder Jason Bass took to Twitter publicly this morning to voice his displeasure.

Question to my followers. Has ANYONE ever received a payment from @NACLeSports ? I have been trying to get my ex team paid for months

— Jason Bass (@jasonbass) April 17, 2014

Team Curse had multiple teams placing high enough to receive prize money, and struggled to receive payment from the North American Challenger League. In a statement provided to onGamers last month, Team Curse wasn’t receiving payment despite multiple attempts.

“As far as we know, NACL has not yet paid us. We've tried to contact Nick Gionfrido [Director of Business Operations] on multiple occasions and have invoiced them twice to get payment from them.”

Now Steve Arhancet, owner of Team Curse, states that their teams have received prize money in full.

So @NACLeSports may or may not be dodging us for playoff winnings that we won 3 months ago. I suggest challenger teams be wary of this org.

— M eye A (@MeyeALoL) April 17, 2014

First-place finishers Team Coast confirmed to onGamers that they have received their prize money. But David Slan, Managing Partner at Team Coast, is upset about how payments were handled.

“It's important, [for] the legitimacy of our sport, for prize money from tournaments to be paid in a timely fashion. It undermines the integrity of everyone involved when there is delay in payment or any question of impropriety.”

Riot contracted NACL to run the Collegiate Qualifier broadcast/tournament and both NACL Season 1 and 2 were run independently of Riot. NACL were paid to produce the North American Collegiate Qualifier, and Riot's contracted relationship with them ended once the quarterfinal was complete.

Riot Games confirmed to onGamers that they have no current plans to work with NACL in the future.

Despite repeated requests from the former players of COGnitive Gaming, North American Challenger League CEO and COGnitive Gaming CEO Brad Fry states that their $1,000 of expected prize money would be covered by expenses while under the team. François Boucher, also known as ‘Zamphira’, claims that the COGnitive Gaming contract explicitly covered the team’s expenses and that the team still deserves the prize money from the first season of the NACL.

Last month, North American Challenger League Director of Business Operations, Nick Gionfriddo told onGamers:

“We had a business partner in ggLA, that had committed 33% of everything (costs/prizes/etc), and bailed on us without saying, doing or paying anything. Multiple times I've thought we were there to disperse funds but it's fallen through. And we weren't going to pay out some teams and not others. We've got everything and payments have started to be sent out this past weekend. We've decided not to pursue any legal action with ggLA currently.”

Gionfriddo continues. “We had secured our commitment with ggLA and our third-party investor originally on good faith, but he reneged on that with us and left us in the dark (hasn't responded back since he bailed). We've done everything we can on our business end to make sure the full prize pool is dispersed, and we've now started doing so. We are being held accountable and that is why it's taken so long because we're picking up the pieces ggLA's left. We originally came up with $25k on the prize pool, but were urged to do more. So we did, and when ggLA partnership fell through, we were left in this situation. We are making sure that we follow through on the full 35k.”

Zach Kay, former League of Legends eSports Director at North American Challenger League, told onGamers:

"While I'm no longer involved with either organization, I am confident that all parties involved will do the right thing, and the situation will be resolved."

Cloud 9 owner Jack Etienne added, "I hope that quality tournaments that Mobafire and Solomid ran return to fill the gap from these poorly run events."

Brad Fry has declined to comment. Riot Games declined to comment further on the situation.

ggLA CEO Justin Speak has not responded to requests for comment.

Image Credit: Riot Games