Korean eSports authority stand up for StarCraft team in LG sponsorship debacle

StarCraft II: a game where the pros are (mostly) polite.

Incredible Miracle are one of Korea’s top StarCraft 2 teams, which by default makes them some of the very best Heart of the Swarm players in the world. You might know them as LG-IM, on account of their sponsorship deal with the electronics giant.

But here’s the thing: IM spent several months after that deal’s end wearing LG’s name on their shirts and in their handles. Only then, say the team, did the sponsors inform them that their contract would not be extended and their players would go uncompensated.

Now KeSPA, Korea’s eSports authority, have spoken up to tell LG something: that’s not okay.

“We won’t just watch if a company exploits young players,” said the organisation.

KeSPA write that Incredible Miracle’s contract with LG expired in October 2012 – but IM claim the sponsor had initially offered an extension in November.

The team’s coach has since kept the team afloat with cash from sub-sponsors and his own pocket. He’s reportedly racked up some debts in the process, and has called upon LG to “correct the contract”.

For their part, LG say they set a renegotiation period of two months after the first contract ended, and notified the team that the discussed renewal would be an issue as early as December 12. In December, however, IM were still participating in LG events and refusing offers from other potential sponsors. It would be April 2013 before both parties recognised that their relationship had broken down.

KeSPA have since investigated and attempted to arbitrate the dispute, with little success.

Do any of you lot follow IM? What do you make of all this?

Thanks, Team Liquid.