This week sees a follow-up on the previously covered H1Z1 Pro League cancellation. Documents obtained from the Pro League indicate insolvency, a likely factor in its shutdown. An addition to these company documents are quotes from multiple sources on the issue. This follows a five-month investigation into the H1Z1 Pro League. With Facebook viewer manipulation, a staggering $27 million missing, and outright deception to investors, the Pro League’s shutdown comes as a surprise to few.
The partnership between Vision Esports and Twin Galaxies may have been a major contributing factor as well to the Pro League’s failure. Inside sources cited their lack of solidarity on key decisions, labeling the relationship between the two companies “dysfunctional.” Many also questioned the leadership of Pro League’s Chairman and CEO of Twin Galaxies, Jace Hall. At the time of the Pro League’s creation, H1Z1 saw a mere 31,000 players — very low for an esports title of any kind. In addition, the decision to stream the event on Facebook — instead of another more appropriate platform such as Twitch — was questionable at best. The event was also streamed on a weeknight and at a time considerably later than convenient for most EU and EST viewers.
The League apparently spent over $2.5 million on social media and partying alone. Their inability to sell tickets to the event left them unable to make this money back. Pro League apparently had to resort to offering drink tickets to casino-goers in exchange for their audience. A further sign of trouble includes hiring members of the audience from an employment center nearby. Despite Jace’s assurance that the League would see a second split, these setbacks — in addition to several other major factors — resulted in the Pro League never finishing its first season. This caused major hardship for many staff, including leaving several homeless.
Multiple sources have also made some troubling accusations regarding how Pro League handled Facebook as a client. Some claim that the organization was being deceptive regarding numbers — including Facebook views — towards investors. Facebook counts users who play a video for three seconds as a view, and some claim that the resulting numbers from these cursory glances were overstated. One employee even stated that the League also hired bots to further over-inflate views for investors. A curious factor in this is also the fact that the event’s premiere ended with 1.1 million views; however, several days later that increased to 3.2 million. Multiple sources have confirmed that statistics were outright lied about to key players involved in the League. Caesar’s, for example, was informed in the quarter two review slides that the event received over 20 million views. In reality, the verifiable total didn’t even reach 13 million.
Employees of Chairman Jace Hall have had some choice words about his leadership. They have stated that his previous business endeavors have been very unsuccessful. Multiple sources explain a specific pattern of going over-budget, failing to hit business targets, and moving on in Hall. Twin Galaxies faced bankruptcy before they received investor support. Poor financial management appears to be the most common complaint with the esports mogul.
Former employees have also described Jace Hall as narcissistic, abusive, and devoid of work ethic. One anonymous employee even went so far as to tell a source that he constantly shifted blame to others and erratically fired his staff one night. The employee went on to accuse Hall of shirking business responsibilities to play video games and deferring work to others. Hall has since gone on stream to offer his perspective on this matter.
Employees also accuse Jace Hall of approaching the H1Z1 Pro League organizations with a claim about Daybreak Game Company. He stated that a “force majeure event” was happening – unforeseeable circumstances that release both parties from their obligations – within the company. Despite the provision of supporting details being a requirement of the organizations’ League Participation Agreement, Hall claimed he had signed an NDA. However, recent events reveal that he actually signed the NDA after the claim he made. He also apparently informed organizations that he didn’t expect them to pay their players despite contractual obligation.
Jace Hall’s failure to disclose further details about the event with Daybreak caused considerable tension within the League’s organizations. They pressed Hall repeatedly and received only blame for Daybreak as reasoning.
As of this article, the Pro League owes its teams over $6 million in stipends. According to a fairly recent employee, however, adherence to that financial obligation is doubtful at best. Expressing genuine surprise at the thought of Pro League paying what they owe, the employee claims they have no money. This person goes on to claim that Jace Hall has discussed the possibility of filing for bankruptcy. The Pro League was apparently depending largely on sponsorships and further investments that never came. Reasons for this include poor viewership and a low player count.
How are you feeling about recent developments with the H1Z1 Pro League? Let us know!
Programmer. Writer. Digital media specialist. Competitive gamer in the sense that I’m competing with the constant urge to throw the controller across the room.