FaZe Clan Gets Into Bed With Sports Gambling After Massive Member Purge

FaZe Clan Gets Into Bed With Sports Gambling After Massive Member Purge

FaZe Clan, the massively popular conglomerate of pro gamers, streamers, and online personalities, is trying to reinvent itself after a catastrophic IPO and recent purge of a majority of its members. It’s now partnering with DraftKings to do that, taking $US11 million from the sports betting app to explore new “opportunities in content.”

FaZe Clan was purchased by GameSquare earlier this year, a holding company focused on monetizing the attention of young audiences. Today, it re-launched the content makers as FaZe Media, a “creator-led IP and internet media company” that sounds like it will be doing the same thing it’s always done, just with more DraftKings sponsorships. I can feel the brand synergies activating already.

While FaZe Clan members Richard “FaZe Banks” Bengtson and Yousef “FaZe Apex” Abdelfattah will be in charge, the new company is owned exclusively by outsiders. GameSquare maintains a 51 percent stake while DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish controls the rest. “Anyone that’s actually tapped in can agree, this was long overdue,” Bengtson said in a statement. “We’ve prioritized pretty much exclusively on creating a fun environment that we (as FaZe members) can find passion in, be excited about, look forward to.”

This financial makeover comes after years of FaZe Clan being the poster child for how companies struggle to turn internet clout into big bucks. Despite the huge followings of its members and the success of its esports teams, an IPO pitched as a billion-dollar windfall instead imploded in a penny stock disaster with FaZe Clan spending most of last year at risk of getting delisted from the NASDAQ stock exchange.

This losing streak reinforced a narrative that FaZe Clan had faltered by moving away from its roots, getting too corporate, and handing over too much power to soulless suits. The whole thing exploded in a particularly ugly controversy after Stranger Things actor turned Twitch streamer Grace Van Dien was revealed as a new member of the creator group in May 2023. It provoked a misogynistic backlash that led Van Dien to exit the group days later.

More recently, FaZe Clan culled the majority of its members last month in an effort to reboot its appeal. “I can’t apologize for doing what feels right,” Bengtson said at the time. “I’ve seen FaZe mismanaged and abused and fucking the life sucked out of it for so long that, like, all I want to do is, I want to see the brand run, and win, and thrive because it deserves to. It’s changed so many fucking people’s lives. It’s a fucking super important thing. FaZe belongs in history books and in a museum, not on a bag of fucking pizza rolls.”

Instead of pizza rolls, maybe now FaZe Clan can be associated with a “Never Forget” 9/11 parlay to win cash while honoring first-responders.

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