Team Coast has lost its Hearthstone team.
The organization’s four players parted ways with the team earlier today, apparently because the team signed on with streaming platform Azubu.
Signing a sponsor is supposed to be a good thing for an organization and its players, providing an influx of cash. But with the importance of streaming revenue in today’s esports scene, it can quickly become a point of contention. Streamers on Twitch receive more viewers than on upstart platforms like Azubu, meaning players don’t want to switch to the platform they believe will earn them less money.
Team captain Keaton “Chakki” Gill revealed he was leaving on Twitter, followed by teammates James “Twisted” Neumann, Justin “Luffy” Dizazzo, and Josh “Impact” Graham also on the way out. Sebastian “EggY” Swierad, a former Team Coast player, was the one who laid the blame on the Azubu deal.
While discussing the problem on Team Liquid, Swierad called Azubu a “Hearthstone career killer.” Even with better rates, players on Azubu have a tougher time building a fanbase when less people see their stream.
Signing a sponsor is supposed to be a good thing.
Signing with Azubu can be lucrative in many situations, considering it knows it needs to pay upfront to lure away streamers. But when Azubu interfaces directly with Coast, how much of that windfall goes directly to the players?
It’s a complicated issue for teams and players to handle, and one that cost Coast a solid team; Gill and Neumann both placed in the top 16 at BlizzCon.
Now, Team Coast will be left to rebuild, but after this exodus that will be a tough task. Especially if their players are required to stream on Azubu.