UPDATE (March 13th 2021): Lucent Esports have picked up Hyve’s League of Legends roster.
Original article (published March 2nd 2021):
UK esports organisation Hyve Central have announced they are shutting down their esports operations.
The org, which fielded teams in multiple games, including Rainbow Six Siege and League of Legends, will be returning to their community roots, they said in an announcement post.
“It is with a heavy heart we announce that Hyve Central will cease all professional esports activity effective immediately,” Hyve said on Twitter.
What’s the contract dispute?
One of Hyve’s Rainbow Six Siege players, Namea from Russia, claimed that him and his teammates haven’t been paid by the org – a claim that Hyve have disputed.
Namea said in a Twitlonger post: “We were promised a decent salary, bootcamp and other support from Hyve Central, but nothing was delivered.
“After signing a contract in January, I haven’t gotten paid once [and neither have my teammates]. None of the team members recieved the signed version of the contract.
“With all of that being said, we as a team need to move on and start another adventure and by that we are back to being actively LFO under our old team name DED Inside.”
However, Hyve have disputed these claims.
Hyve co-owner Josh ‘Arbury’ Walters published his own Twitlonger, claiming the then Ded Inside manager, Sparky, initially said to Hyve: “It doesn’t matter what you put in the contract, they’re from Russia, and will do as they please, you can’t touch them in Russia.”
Josh says Sparky failed to return the signed contracts to Hyve on time before Christmas 2020, and when he did, it was for four players and staff, thus an ‘incomplete’ roster. Josh says this was covered by part of the contracts, which stated that no payments would be made if it’s an incomplete roster.
Josh said he made a 25% payment to the players as a goodwill gesture, even though in his words it “was contractually not required”.
He also disputes paying Namea for January as the player apparently joined the team in late January. However, Josh did admit to not signing the contracts and said he should have done.
“Should they have received signed contracts?” Josh said. “Absolutely! Why didn’t I submit them? I’m only human. It was an item which ended up falling down my lengthy priority list, and I’m happy to take accountability of that. However, libel against my dissolving company, which is not factual, is an item I cannot let slide.”
What will happen to Hyve’s League of Legends team in the UKEL?
Hyve’s League of Legends team are currently third in the UKEL Spring 2021 Season, and will continue playing for the remainder of the season.
Esports News UK understands the team are still under contract until Hyve apparently dissolves as a company in June.
However, they will need to find a new org if they are to get through playoffs and play in the UKLC.
In the meantime, Hyve are said to be funding the LoL team and paying those players.
The news comes after Munster Rugby Gaming (led by Phelan Gaming) failed to pay their League of Legends players and staff on time last year.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.