French Agency Suing 'League of Legends' Pro Hans Sama Over Alleged Breach of Contract
The dispute comes after the former Team Liquid AD carry hired a competing agency while under contract during the 2021 season.
French esports agency Athletes Representation & Consulting (ARC) is suing former Team Liquid AD carry Steven “Hans Sama” Liv for alleged breach of contract by signing with a competitor and not paying commissions during his existing representation agreement, sources familiar with the matter told The Jacob Wolf Report this week.
The dispute is linked to Liv’s move from Rogue to Team Liquid in November 2021, discussions which began with ARC but were finalized by a competing agency, Proxy. The complaint also alleges that Liv did not pay a portion of his commissions during his time with Rogue in 2021, a deal which ARC also negotiated.
ARC previously represented Liv in an agency agreement that was set to terminate on Dec. 31, 2021, unless mutually terminated earlier by both parties.
That agreement also included a one-year autorenewal for the 2022 season, unless Liv or the agency notified the other of their intent to terminate at the end of 2021. Under that agreement, ARC was entitled to a 5 percent commission on any of Liv’s team deals signed prior to the end of 2021.
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Toward the end of the 2021 season, ARC spoke to Liv’s then-team Rogue about selling Liv’s contract rights to a North American team prior to his contract ending at the conclusion of 2022. Rogue and ARC both met with Cloud9, which was willing to pay the buyout and negotiate a new salary with Liv, according to sources familiar with those discussions. ARC also met with Team Liquid, which was interested in Liv as well.
While ARC began discussions with Team Liquid, Proxy ultimately negotiated Liv’s new deal—despite Liv’s existing contract with ARC to exclusively represent him.
Given Liv’s desire to move to Liquid instead of Cloud9, Rogue acquiesced and accepted a lower buyout amount from Liquid than what Cloud9 offered.
ARC founder Nathan Laprade declined to comment on the specifics of the dispute with Liv, but he and his legal counsel provided comment to The Jacob Wolf Report, confirming the lawsuit is filed.
Proxy declined to comment. Liv did not respond to a request for comment.
“We have been asked about a dispute between our agency, ARC, and Steven Liv [Hans Sama],” Laprade told The Jacob Wolf Report. “We deeply regret this situation, which is unprecedented in the life of our agency, but we must confirm that we have a dispute with Steven about the conditions under which our collaboration ceased.
“As we were unable to reach an amicable agreement with Steven, we were forced to bring the matter before a civil court for an independent third party to assess the situation. It is nothing personal, and we trust Steven feels the same way. As the case is ongoing, we do not intend to communicate further to preserve Steven's or ARC's image.”
Liv competed on Liquid through the 2022 season on what was billed as a superteam. Recruiting some of the best players from both North America and Europe, Liquid built the most expensive team in North American “League of Legends” history, featuring Liv as its star bot laner. Ultimately, though, the team failed to perform as expected and did not qualify for the 2022 League of Legends World Championship.
Liquid announced Liv’s departure on Sept. 19, 2022 as it undergoes a near-total rebuild of its lineup. Liv is expected to return to Europe and join G2 Esports, according to an Oct. 31 tweet from independent reporter Brieuc Seeger.
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