FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink spoke with Axios media reporter Sara Fischer about why the brand is more than just an esports organization—and why it’s uniquely positioned to reach Gen Z on their preferred platform.
FaZe Clan, which added Snoop Dogg to its board of directors just a week ago, is about to become the world’s first publicly traded esports organization.
But the description of esports organization is only part of legacy gaming brand’s twelve-year existence.
“We’re a youth culture brand, overall,” said Trink at Tuesday’s featured SXSW 2022 session, ‘Reimagining Media And Entertainment For Gen Z.’
Noting the overlap between gaming culture and Gen Z, Trink said, “at one point gaming lifestyle became synonymous with youth culture. I’d like to think we played an important part in that.”
Recent figures show that gaming is Gen Z’s preferred social platform, with brands reaching them through Roblox and Fortnite. Ninety percent of Gen Zers identify as gamers, making youth culture statistically synonymous with gamer culture.
While there’s an obvious reverence for competitive gaming and esports, Trink notes that it’s more about the creators than the competition. But it doesn’t hurt to be endemic to gaming culture.
“We’re currently champions of two of the most popular esports out there: Call of Duty and Counterstrike. We have 12 esports teams,” said Trink. “But the thing that’s surprising for some people is, while esports is vibrant and growing, it’s gaming as an entertainment platform that is more popular.”
The pandemic has only made gaming more popular with a valuation of the global gaming market at $198.4 billion in 2021 and projected $339.95 billion by 2027.
“In this world, in gaming—the Harlem Globetrotters are more popular than the Lakers,” said Trink. “We derive our massive fanbase and our cultural significance from the content creator-side.”
The bulk of FaZe Clan’s revenue, most through bluechip sponsors like McDonald’s, Nissan, and Beatz, is also diversifying into limited licensing arrangements like the X-Shot at Target and of course, apparel. But FaZe really has its sights set on CPG brands and partnering around events.
“The brand is a mature brand. The business is a […] recent business,” said Trink.
“We’ve been spending the last couple of years really introducing ourselves to the more traditional world, the less-tapped-in world—we’re a legacy brand in the gaming space.”