Hundred Thieves In Serious Trouble
It’s been two months since Matt “Nadeshot” Haag publicly announced his own esports team, Hundred Thieves. The hype sure was strong, but how could it not have been? Anyone who watched Nadeshot’s video could see how genuinely happy and elated he was, and could not help but feel a bit excited themselves.
I even wrote a piece on how I thought that the team had the possibility to be (to quote myself) the “next big thing in Call of Duty esports, if not the entire esports world as a whole." Nadeshot painted us a picture of his vision, and it was beautiful: he wanted 100T to be a juggernaut in esports and streaming media, with teams and personalities across multiple games and platforms, built on the backs of players and content creators with a thirst to prove themselves to be the best at what they do. I believe I speak for a lot of people in the Call of Duty esports scene when I say that we were ready, if not eager, to believe.
Boy, did things go downhill fast. Everything seems to have gone wrong for Nadeshot and his new organization. Sure, it was probably a pipe dream to think the venture would get off the ground without a scratch, but even with that in mind the first two months of Hundred Thieves have been a disaster.
The launch of the organization was a mess. Sure, the announcement was fine, but there was no post-announcement plan or strategy, and from a business perspective the first two months of the existence of Hundred Thieves were nearly a complete failure. In my opinion, Nadeshot made a mistake by rushing into the decision to start Hundred Thieves with the acquisition of “King Papey.” None of the framework that should have accompanied the rollout of a huge brand like 100T was put into place.
If Nadeshot had really wanted to do this right, he would have taken his time to get his house in order before and immediately following the announcement. He would have reached out to potential talent and figured out how they would contribute to the brand. He would have figured out what he needed in terms of personnel and quickly found a way to fill those vacancies, instead of opening it up to the general public in what would charitably be described as a complete mess. He would have started social media accounts (more than just a Twitter account that he runs himself) and designed a strategy for them, not to mention finding staff to manage them. He could have built a massive coalition of willing individuals who wanted to get in on the ground floor on an amazing opportunity like this one. He could have also figured out a way to start monetizing the brand through merchandise and sponsorship deals to get a return on investment, something he has not even started to do two months after the team’s conception.
Instead, though, he rushed into it and now his organization is anything but organized. He does not yet have a way to earn back any of the money that he has invested into 100T. There are no openly advertising sponsors for the team. He has only one Twitch streamer and his small stream team serving as talent, and they are yet to participate as members of the organization; they supply nothing to the brand and have gained nothing as a result from their joining, save for a few shoutouts on Nadeshot’s social media.
Speaking of which, the Hundred Thieves social media is depressingly underwhelming. The organization, despite being run by someone who is a social media juggernaut, is completely inactive on three of the four social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat) that were set up during the conception of the team, and nearly inactive on the organization’s Twitter, and the organization has no Twitch team page to advertise live team channels or YouTube channel to show off team-oriented content. The only other interaction the organization has with its fans is through Nadeshot’s YouTube channel, where he has barely mentioned the team over the last few weeks.
All four of the current social media accounts are run by Nadeshot himself, who has not brought on any social media staff for the team; he is also yet to hire a Call of Duty team manager, the vacancy for which was announced publicly on his YouTube channel, which resulted in a cascade of unqualified and underage applicants reaching out to him for a job. From a business perspective, I do not think the first two months of the organization’s existence could have been handled in a worse way.
From a Call of Duty perspective, it could not have gone much worse either. The young gun team with a ton of talent that everyone thought could be a force in CoD esports turned out to be a fluke. The team has been consistently sitting at the bottom of the rankings in Stage 2 of the North American Call of Duty World League (CWL), and has the potential to have the worst record of a team to compete in the NA CWL since its conception at the beginning of Call of Duty®: Black Ops III. (CLG, the team that finished at the bottom of the rankings in Stage 1 of the NACWL, ended with a record of 6-16. 100T is currently at 2-12.)
They are yet to win an Uplink in their time in the CWL. During MLG Anaheim last weekend, they did not win a single map. That is not even mentioning the personnel issues. The team has issues getting along, and one of the players, Brandon "Nelson" McKinney, has been consistently acting in an extremely unprofessional manner on social media and during matches. There were mid-season roster changes that were confusing to say the least, and it was done in such a tumultuous manner that it likely did not do any favors for chemistry, where the team was not strong in the first place. There were also some disputes between Nadeshot and some of his players that were publicized and resulted in Nadeshot having to post a public reply to it on his team’s subreddit. The team seems to have embarrassment after embarrassment with no end in sight.
The Hundred Thieves organization is a mess. The organization’s Call of Duty team is a wreck. It is not looking so good for the future of the organization, and it makes one wonder if Nadeshot has squandered his opportunity. Perhaps Nadeshot sees his mistakes too. After all, following this weekend’s shoddy showing at MLG Anaheim, Nadeshot felt he needed to post an apology video today just like the ones he used to post when he lost a tournament back in his own competitive playing days.
This is not to say that Nadeshot’s luck could change. However, he needs to seriously reconsider how he is approaching his organization’s future. It is unlikely that the Call of Duty team will qualify for Stage 2 Playoffs (if not nearly impossible now), so he needs to look beyond the CWL; the roster will most certainly need to be restructured. Most importantly, though, is how he will treat the organizational side of 100T. It is time for Nadeshot to treat it like the business it is supposed to become. Organizations in esports are not built overnight, but work has to be put in for results to be had. He still has a shot to build something amazing with his organization, and I wil be rooting for him as much as ever, but he is definitely running out of time and chances.
Note from Author: Please note this is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are the views of the author alone and not of GAMURS or any affiliates/sponsors/other writers. If you see inaccuracies, please feel free to tweet me and correct me @FeelTheNerdage. :)