FaZe Clan Is Changing the Game for Esports

April 19, 2021

Describing esports to those unfamiliar with the concept can be tricky, and FaZe Clan Inc. Chief Executive Lee Trink said it’s even harder to sum up what his company does.

“We’re in a category of one,” Trink said. “Yes, we’re in esports. Yes, we’re in gaming. But there’s really no one that operates in the way that we do and that has the meaning to the community that we have.”

Like other esports organizations, FaZe Clan supports teams that compete in professional video gaming competitions (its Atlanta FaZe franchise finished second last year in Activision Blizzard Inc.’s “Call of Duty” League).

Unlike other esports organizations, it also supports a vast network of streamers and content creators that includes rappers and professional athletes.

Many of its members have evolved into celebrities in their own right. A 2019 FaZe Clan popup event at a New York City shoe store drew such a large crowd that police shut it down.

Trink said FaZe Clan has ridden a wave of Generation Z-fueled enthusiasm over esports and gaming that is only continuing to grow.

A longtime music industry executive and former president of Capitol Records, Trink said he can’t help but see parallels between the growing popularity of gaming culture and the “trajectory of hip-hop” as a cultural phenomenon.

“Hip-hop went from a music genre to a niche lifestyle and then became so prominent that hip-hop culture really became pop culture,” he said.

“The first time I made this comparison, I did it very sheepishly,” he added. “What has emboldened me to make it more often is that some of the people responsible for making hip-hop as big as it is have said it back to me.”

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