Sports Illustrated’s June edition is an esports feature with FaZe Clan donning the cover and breaking barriers.
For nearly a decade, FaZe Clan has grown from a Call of Duty trickshot channel to one of the largest gaming and lifestyle brands in the world. This week they have broken barriers in traditional media and earned a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. This is a large step for the entire gaming industry and the validity of esports in mainstream media. The cover features FaZe Nickmercs, FaZe Temperrr, FaZe Rug, FaZe Swagg, FaZe Kyler “K1'' Murray and FaZe LeBron “Bronny '' James Jr. The featured piece contains interviews from the above FaZe Clan members, and CEO Lee Trink. President and CEO of Atlanta Esports Ventures believe that “in the next five years, they’ll be the biggest lifestyle brand in the world”, and he’s not wrong.
A leading force in esports
FaZe’s explosive growth from the early 2010s to mid-pandemic 2021 came with the culture that the organization fostered. Somewhere between an esports organization, lifestyle brand, and personality aggregate, FaZe Clan has pop culture on lock. From the piece with Sports Illustrated, FaZe has grown on the basis that athletes want to be gamers and gamers want to be athletes. When basketball king Lebron James’ son signed with FaZe Clan amidst being scouted by colleges for scholarships, the game completely changed.
Esports have slowly over the years enabled viable careers for teenagers and young adults despite the lack of traditional infrastructure and media presence. Organizations like FaZe clan took to content creation as a way to bolster their portfolio and develop revenue outside of competitions. FaZe Clan took this to the next level, building a brand that stands toe-to-toe with the likes of Supreme, Golden State Warriors, and other media goliaths.
The core of FaZe Clan is a goliath brand that blurs the line between content creation, professional gamers, and lifestyle. This breakthrough spotlight on the cover of Sports Illustrated not only validates FaZe Clan’s mainstream appeal but also elevates the entire gaming industry. It should be noted that none of FaZe Clan’s competitive Call of Duty players made it on the front cover. Instead, they opted to showcase their most notable talent and personalities. The competitive side of FaZe Clan has become their weakest over the years but it is far from suffering. Rather, the emphasis on lifestyle branding and content creation has become the pillar of what has made FaZe Clan so successful. The special edition hits newsstands on June 17 and will also be available online digitally.