The competitive CS:GO community appears to be lurching from one scandal to the next. At first, over 30 coaches are found to be cheating and now your most successful team appears to have a conflict of interest with the scene's largest news provider. The story was brought to light by esports insider Thorin who took to Twitter to publicize the fact that an Astralis director, named Jesper Søgaard, bought HL.TV, one of the top CS:GO websites in the world.
HLTV was acquired by Søgaard's company, Better Collective, back in February of this year. However, the company failed to mention that Søgaard also has a stake in professional CS:GO team Astralis.
This fact wasn't mentioned by HLTV even though the website continued to pump out content surrounding the popular Danish esports organization. Obviously, many fans are calling this a conflict of interest, as the owners of HLTV can cater their content to be beneficial towards Astralis.
HLTV owned by group with interests and stake in Astralis
The thread by Thorin on Twitter is quite revealing. However, neither side has chosen to comment on the matter, which could signify that the story is in fact true. After all, there's little room to deny that HLTV was purchased by Better Collective, whose CEO has an "ownership interest" in Astralis.
Such a low level of professional ethics and standards over at HLTV.— Thorin (@Thorin) October 18, 2020
Oh well, why change the habit of a life-time? pic.twitter.com/lgN5cZdGAS
The reason why so many fans are upset at this discovery is because HLTV has been operating for over half of a year without disclosing their ties to Astralis. All the while, the journalists have been writing freely about the CS:GO team, publishing interviews, and continuing to place Astralis at the top of their power rankings.
Whether or not Astralis is the best team in CS:GO is irrelevant. The fact remains that because of HLTV's ownership, the rankings are not unbiased.
Moreover, Thorin claims that the Danish media doesn't cover stories like this due to the fact that Astralis gives journalists exclusive information. It's reportedly a two-way street; Astralis gives Danish journalists exclusive stories and the journalists don't write anything negative about the team or players.
This story is sure to develop further as the days and weeks go on, so we'll be certain to update this article with more details as they come in.