Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past six weeks, you’re probably aware of the ongoing situation between Fortnite star Tfue and the organization he performs for, FaZe Clan. For our rock-dwelling readers, Turner ‘Tfue’ Tenney is one of the best Fortnite players and streamers in the world. He had a meteoric rise to stardom in the months after signing with FaZe Clan in April 2018. Over the next year, his audience would grow from the thousands to the millions, and he can now be seen streaming regularly on Twitch to over 30,000 live viewers.
However, all the success lead to a problem: money. The original contract Tfue signed to join FaZe Clan was designed for someone with thousands of fans, not millions. In May 2019, Tfue blew the whistle on his contract situation with FaZe Clan and demanded to be released from the team. The whole situation has put the emerging esports and streaming scene in the spotlight, as fans and critics alike try to figure out what should be set as the industry standards.
That brings us to now. For the past few weeks, the whole situation has been rather quiet, but it looks like the ongoing legal battle is about to heat up. Esports reporter, Noah Smith, confirmed that after reaching out to TFue’s lawyer Bryan J. Freedman for an update, that multiple subpoenas have gone out to major organizations to help determine the value of TFue’s brand.
The list of companies that have been reached out to is massive, but includes: G Fuel, Walmart, General Mills, Nissan, HTC, Gucci, Spotify, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jockey, Proctor and Gamble, Converse, Hanes, Netflix, Paypal, Facebook, Google, Tencent, EA, Youtube, PUBG, Pandora and many more.
By subpoenaing records from these companies, they hope to build a clear picture of how much Tfue’s brand brings to FaZe Clan. In addition, it should help serve as evidence for a class action lawsuit that is being brought against FaZe Clan.
Many in the community are saying the situation highlights the need for a union in the esports world. Too many young players are being approached with the offer of playing video games for a living, and perhaps aren’t thinking about what their brand may actually be worth. This should serve as an important lesson to prospective athletes or streamers on the value of having legal representation during contract signings.
The eyes of every major esports organization and prospective player will be watching how this plays out. With the esports and streaming scene still in its youth, this legal battle could set the precedent for how future stars are signed.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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