The esports world is evolving quickly, and so are the professional organizations that drive it. FaZe Clan is among the world's most popular. At TechCrunch Disrupt 2020 we talked to FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink, investor Troy Carter and Nick Kolcheff, better known as NICKMERCS, about the shifting industry landscape.
Carter first explained the motivation behind his interest in investing in FaZe Clan . "My diligence in this process was different from the diligence that I usually do in companies because I went and asked my son, who was 14 at the time, what do you think about me investing in FaZe, and he lit up. He lit up," Carter told moderator and TechCrunch Managing Editor Jordan Crook.
As a veteran streamer, Kolcheff also shed some light on his work ethic and how he keeps producing. "I've been a streamer for 10 years now, so it's getting to the point now where it's like... I'll go to bed some days after a long stream," Kolcheff said. "So it's just my mind is so wired, I'm so in it 24/7 that I think that it just becomes your routine and your life and that's what it is for me."
Kolcheff touched on the responsibilities of streamers to act responsibly and the challenges that can emerge for younger streamers to deal with seeing their influence expand so rapidly. "A lot of these kids blow up fast on the internet and go from having like four or five viewers to hundreds or thousands and then they have to be more careful -- like you can't say all these crazy things."
NICKMERCS boasts a substantial following across the platform, with 4.3 million Twitch followers and more than 2.8 million YouTube subscribers. He talked about how he balances maintaining his following while also competing professionally.
"I think one of the best things about being on FaZe for me is that I'm already so busy on a day to day with everything I've got going on with the stream and YouTube and all of that stuff," Kolcheff told TechCrunch. "You know, a lot of other orgs have been out there always trying to draw you away from some of those things and put a lot more on your plate, and that's okay, but like for me, I already have enough on my plate as is. So I need people who are going to support the things that I'm doing."
Trink addressed the recent settlement with esports' Turner “Tfue” Tenny after a 15-month legal dispute over his contract and sponsorship deals and discussed how the group was hoping to keep its athletes happy with their contracts.
"We're continuing to reexamine contracts as we go because this industry is moving at such a pace that it requires that we do an audit on what our contracts have in them and what are the rights, what are the obligations, and we do that review a couple of times a year and have the opportunity as contracts are expiring, we're doing new ones and there's another opportunity to say 'do we have it right?' " Trink said.
Trink says the industry is progressing so quickly and that it isn't always easy to "get things perfect."
"My philosophy around FaZe Clan and the industry is different than it was a year ago, it's different than it was even six months ago," Trink says. "You know, we're really living in like dog years here. I've been CEO for just about two years; it feels like a decade to me."
Watch the interview in full below: