In a post-match conference after their first match of the Heroes of the Storm Mid Season Brawl Loser's Bracket taking place at Dreamhack, L5 flex player Jin ‘NaCHoJin’ Su Park said the team dropping to the lower bracket was due to “Korea improving at a slower rate than other regions.”
When pushed further, Su Park pointed to the 2017 HGC format, saying that the change in format means there’s not much incentive to practice hard for the top tier teams, pointed primarily to financial concerns.
L5 have mentioned a lower prize pool for Korean Heroes of the Storm teams, and have also mentioned the difficulty in getting sponsors in the region. While sponsorship has been difficult for all Korean teams, HGC’s transition to a full-length league has left it even more difficult to persuade Korean sponsors to bite.
Korean team L5 are one of the most successful Heroes of the Storm teams, sweeping their nation 14-0. All of the team are former League of Legends players who jumped over to Heroes of the Storm shortly after the game was announced. If they’re struggling to gain sponsors, it could point to difficulty for the esport in the region. L5 have said that there has been very little incentive to practice for Korean teams, and they said that they've been practicing very little, although are still hoping to get to the finals of the Mid Season Brawl.
However, this doesn’t seem to be the case for other regions, with American outfit Team 8 recently getting sponsored by Roll 20. They’re also competing at the Mid Season Brawl, so hopefully we can find out more.