E-gaming organization FaZe Clan has signed an exclusive deal to distribute its clothing and merchandise via Ntwrk, the video e-commerce and entertainment platform aimed at Gen Z and Millennials, and helmed by chief executive officer Aaron Levant, who produced the ComplexCon festivals and created the Agenda fashion trade shows.
Ntwrk offers limited-edition product drops from influencers including LeBron James, Pharrell Williams, Billie Eilish and 88rising. Launched in October 2018, it has backing from MSA Enterprises, whose investors include Jimmy Iovine, LeBron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The deal comes after Ntwrk led the last round of funding for FaZe Clan, the gaming lifestyle brand founded in 2010, which now has 85 gaming personalities on its roster, 215 million fans across its social platforms and content that racks up 500 million views a month, according to the organization. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
With live sports canceled around the world due to the coronavirus, e-gaming has seen a surge in interest in recent weeks, broadening its audience and attracting high profile new players, including celebrities and NBA players, who are joining in on Twitch and other platforms.
“We’re at the birth of a new disruptive entertainment genre. FaZe Clan is a very powerful pipeline into gaming culture and their cultural impact reminds me of the early days of Nineties hip-hop. The combined reach of FaZe Clan and Ntwrk is going to be very powerful,” said Iovine, who helped launch Tupac Shakur and Eminem, among many others, and cofounded Beats Electronics and sold it to Apple for $3 billion.
“Jimmy has always been a cultural seer,” said FaZe Clan chief executive officer Lee Trink in a statement. “His belief in FaZe Clan as the next cultural wave, not just in gaming but in entertainment overall, is an incredible representation of the transformative shift happening right now.”
“By investing in FaZe Clan we’re putting Ntwrk at the epicenter of gaming culture, further cementing our position as Gen Z’s premier social commerce and content platform,” said Levant. Ntwrk has served more than one million customers.
In addition to a Melrose Avenue L.A. pop-up last year, FaZe Clan has had a number of brand collaborations with Manchester City FC, Puma, Kappa, Clot and Champion.
With the online gaming industry expected to reach $180 billion by 2021, fashion and retail extensions have been on the up. In January, Los Angeles e-sports organization and lifestyle brand 100 Thieves, which is backed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, entertainment entrepreneur Scooter Braun and Aglaé Ventures (the tech investment firm of Groupe Arnault, controlling shareholder of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), opened a 15,000 square-foot training facility, content production studio and retail store in Culver City.
The Overwatch League entered a licensing deal with Fanatics, while The New York Excelsior partnered with Undefeated on jerseys, and its parent organization, Andbox, tapped Public School’s Maxwell Osborne to design its collections of T-shirts and hoodies. Louis Vuitton ventured into a two-year partnership with the popular game “League of Legends,” while Adidas has collaborated with the famed gamer Ninja, and K-Swiss launched an e-gamer performance shoe.