For a while now, it has been obvious that HearthStone and its budding eSports scene would be responsible for a lot of grief and failure among professional teams and players. As Clarity Gaming, ManaGrind, FNATIC and Curse went under, it's become clear that there were issues teams were systematically getting wrong about competitive HearthStone and about eSports in general. The demise of the latest of these casualties, Hearthlytics, can indeed be traced back to the same problems.
So what exactly led to the downfall of Hearthlytics? To make a long story short: it was their collective failure to deliver what was being demanded of them on an individual as well as team-level. According to owner RJ Epperson, there was a healthy dose of mismanagement in the mix as well...Apparently, the team reached its sponsorship-ceiling relatively quickly, meaning that they got all the sponsors onboard for whom they could deliver the results required for sponsorship. Past that point, it was a logical and somewhat natural move for management to branch out into work-related activities, like creating content, winning tournaments and promoting the team/sponsors at a variety of events...this is where it all went haywire for them, as team members were apparently not onboard with this sort of approach. Essentially, all they wanted to do was to play and to deliver on that front, which they did indeed accomplish. For an eSports organization however, drawing the line at that simply will not cut it.
Indeed, the pro scene is rife with youngsters who never really held a real job before and as such, they're often confused about what it takes to make an eSports organization tick. Most of them imagine it's all just glorified playing time, which is obviously as far from the truth as it gets. The bottom line is that one has to go far above and beyond actual in-game results to pick up a nice, fat check, and this is doubly true for a game like HearthStone, where consistency simply cannot be guaranteed.
Team owners in general prioritize content-creators, as there is very little financial upside to having secured the services of a player with mad skills but no other interests, simply because sponsors do not see a good return on such a player and at the end of the day, they make the eSports world go around.
Although they have often been blamed for not having developed storylines and narratives that would've assured a team's survival, casters and commentators simply cannot be held responsible for such issues, as at the end of the day, that is simply not in their job-description.
Pete Wassenberg is keeping an eye on the TI 2016 at Gosugamers.net, the world's top eSports news provider.