After repeated delays in payment that amounted to be less than what players expected, and the stepping down of CEO Brandon Kim, Mosaic eSports is no more. The players that have decided to remain together will finish the current season of Contenders.
The issues with Mosaic first came to light in the public when eMIL and vallutaja announced they were leaving the organization on Twitter yesterday. vallutaja mentioned in the second of his two Tweets that the owner of the team owed over $20,000 to Mosaic players.
Best of luck to those still chasing the OWL dream. For myself, I'll take some time off to recharge and return in another game. Lastly, as a warning to others I hope no one else has the misfortune of dealing with Dr. Brandon Kim, this man owes over $20000 to Mosaic Players. (2/2)— vallutaja (@vallutajaOW) March 26, 2018
According to Mosaic players and staff alike, all payments were made regularly and as agreed upon until January, when the second iteration of the Mosaic roster emerged.
Players were still paid, but not to the same extent as agreed upon in their contracts. "The pay was no longer on schedule and the amount wasn't right," eMIL said. eMIL and Kodak played for the original Mosaic roster as well as the rebuild.
Director of Players Alexandre "San Alex" Simoes went into greater detail. "Until January everything was delivered in terms of salary. Starting on January 15 the salaries got delayed over and over again due to delays and funds 'waiting to clear'," he said. "Of course this brought some red flags, but at the same time Brandon was delivering in other aspects like paying for the contenders spot and sending the players $500 weekly/bi-weekly."
With some amount of income and a Contenders spot, the players continued to stick with the team in hopes that things would change, although the players immediately raised concerns. "[The players spoke up about the lack of pay] almost instantly. It has been a rough time for everyone involved," said eMIL. "I myself have been struggling a lot, so not knowing if you can pay the bills or even eat has been a big stress factor."
The situation did not change for the better and instead worsened. "Lately [Brandon Kim] got really distant due to personal problems in the last 3-4 weeks. So we addressed the players, and told them about everything we knew, then started this whole process [of separating ourselves from the organization]," said Simoes. "It's important to mention that our CEO was the only investor here. With him gone there is nothing left. He deleted his Twitter account and our Mosaic emails. So the players and remaining staff will get together and create a team to finish Contenders."
The players and staff members ended up making a joint statement on the team's Twitter, written by team COO Julian Kurland:
Mosaic has been going through a lot of internal turmoil for the last several months, and it’s gotten to a point where I believe the best option is to address the problems publicly so that we can move forward in a better direction.
Mosaic has over promised and under delivered to everyone, but especially our players. When we first started, our CEO promised a different kind of esports team - one that was transparent, trustworthy, and committed to changing the shady landscape. It’s become clear now that those words have been empty for some time. Goalposts began to shift, salaries were delayed and underpaid, and promises started to evaporate. Big deals that were dangled in front of us turned out to be mostly illusions.
This post is not meant to throw mud and blame. I personally ignored a lot of red flags that I should not have, and potentially could have stopped things before they’d gotten this far. I want to take responsibility for my actions in all this, I certainly did not live up to my duties as the COO of the team.
It is, however, important to me that I make it clear who does not deserve to be painted with the same brush. Our director of players, director of team operations, coaches and players have all dedicated countless hours of their lives for the past many months towards a common goal of succeeding in Contenders, and my heart is heavy that factors outside of their control have affected our chances.
Our goal all along has been to make a name for ourselves in Contenders, but this is not the name we sought. We still want our talented players and coaches to have the best opportunity to showcase themselves and as staff, we’ll stay and help until the end of this season, if the players want. We’ll be dropping the Mosaic name and competing under a new one as soon as we can to allow the team to rebuild from scratch with a more stable foundation.
Despite the team receiving regular payments until January, there might have been more red flags earlier in the organization's timeline. It was reported when the team was formed that there were intentions to move the roster out to Phoenix, but instead the team ended up playing in Contenders Europe.
According to former Mosaic DPS BromaS, the team was told in late September that the goal was to move the roster to Phoenix in late October or early November. BromaS said that in mid-October he was told his visa was almost done, but no updates followed and he inquired again a month later. At that point he was told they were having issues with visas and the costs were too expensive.
According to Kurland, Kim has offered to step down from his position as CEO and the team is working to try and rename the roster for the remainder of Contenders, if Blizzard allows the name change.
The future for the Mosaic players is unknown past Contenders. "Our first goal is to make it through the rest of Contenders, then we will decide, together, what to do after that," they said in a joint statement.