Whenever an athlete ends up on the cover of magazines such as Sports Illustrated, those magazines show others that that athlete has reached a high point in their career and have become very popular.
This year was the first time an eSports brand was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which made history and showed how the gaming organization FaZe Clan is influential in the industry.
In the last year, the brand has spent a lot of time and effort building strong strategic partnerships outside of the traditional gaming industry. Back in April, FaZe Clan partnered with Corona Hard Seltzer, which later ended up helping the gaming brand present the organization in person at a Summer Tip-Off gaming event in Las Vegas.
A month later, the brand partnered with Microsoft and Xbox 360 in a celebration of the organization’s 11th anniversary, and also ended up in a deal with the artist Takashi Murakami, who created a line of branded mouse pads and jerseys for FaZe Clan.
During the lockdowns of the pandemic, many consumers turned to games as one of their main sources of entertainment, as well as a way to connect with other people.
This quickly resulted in the image of teenage boys sitting with their game controllers in hand in their basements being replaced with a more diverse set of consumers.
The change in perception of gamers and the gaming industry, in general, was also aided by professional athletes whose leagues ended up shutting down in the earliest days of the pandemic. In fact, some of those professional athletes ended up joining different gaming organizations too, which brought their followers to those organizations.
In the past, music used to be the main driver of youth culture, but these days it’s all about gaming. Both musicians and athletes helped change the image that gaming used to have, and give more context to that image, simply because they said that gaming was cool. That’s why these days, the members of the FaZe Clan include people like LeBron James’ son Bronny James Jr, the rappers Lil Yachty and Offset, NBA player Ben Simmons, and the quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, Kyler Murray.
The pandemic managed to create the perfect conditions for gaming to take hold of many audiences around the world, due to the restrictions on outside mobility. Now, almost two years later, people are still expecting the end of the pandemic to arrive, but the effect of this growing community of gamers is still growing.
According to the FaZe Clan CEO, Lee Trink,the organization doesn’t spend a lot on traditional marketing, preferring to spend more on its YouTube and Twitter channels. Those efforts have resulted in over 30,000 new members following the company’s Twitter account in August after the team won the Call of Duty Championship.
These days, the organization presents itself more as a youth culture company, as well as a platform for lifestyle and media, instead of only eSports, which has resulted in a number of other partnerships and digital marketing opportunities.
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