Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is latest athlete to invest in FaZe Clan
Esports firm Faze Clan today announced that two-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons has joined a Series B funding round that has yet to be closed.
The Philadelphia 76ers star is the latest basketball player to invest in Faze Clan, following Josh Hart of the New Orleans Pelicans, Meyers Leonard of the Miami Heat and Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets. Electronic sports have been a popular destination for athletes to invest their money. Kevin Durant, Michael Jordan, Alex Rodriguez and David Beckham are among those with stakes in competitive gaming companies. European football stars Antoine Griezmann from Barcelona and Mesut Ozil Arsenal have created their own esports teams.
Faze Clan has been ranked by Forbes in November as fourth most valued esports company. Terms of Simmons’ investment were not disclosed.
“My role with FaZe now goes a lot further than the initial investment,” says Simmons, adding that he was drawn to the company as a teenager because of its cool branding and has come to believe. in his family play culture. “I’m going to bring it back to Australia and bring an international dimension to it. I also want to bring more children there.
A teenager in Australia, Simmons aimed to play Call of Duty to make a living for FaZe, letting the dream die as he pushed into his 6-foot-10 frame and chose to pursue a career in basketball. He was selected first in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Sixers.
Speaking by phone from his home in Philadelphia a week after knee surgery that cut short his time in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Simmons recalled how he first connected with FaZe members via the social networks and had started playing online with FaZe co-owner Thomas “Temperrr”. Oliveira, now a good friend. Soon he received the “Ambassador” label, reserved for celebrity influencers, and resumed the brand’s name. popular merchandise at social media and in the NBA. Last March, he competed in the company’s # Fight2Fund tournament with players, celebrities and other athletes, including NBA star Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers and NFL star JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, over a four week period. Call of Duty battle that raised nearly $ 125,000 for pandemic relief funds.
As a player, Simmons, also billed as “FaZe Simmo” as of today, calls himself “SimmoTheSavage” and frequently live broadcasts on Twitch while playing Call of Duty to an audience of 47,700 subscribers. Now that he’s injured, he has a little more time for this.
“I played a lot at home during rehab,” said Simmons, who describes himself as a competitive player. “But I was also playing in the bubble. I brought my own travel game setup. I really see the similarities in the mindset of basketball players and players and the time that each puts into their craft. We are both very productive, creative and passionate people.
The 24-year-old, who Forbes estimates made $ 12 million in the final year of his four-year rookie deal with the Sixers, has stepped up his investing activity. In early August, he joined a group including singer John Legend that invested $ 18 million in a Philadelphia-based company. credit card startup. He was also executive producer of ESPN sports documentary The Australian dream, about Australian football star Adam Goodes’ indigenous experience in tackling racism on the pitch.
Simmons took a $ 2 million haircut on his salary this year due to the pandemic, but is also paid around $ 6 million to support Nike
Other famous FaZe Clan investors include rappers Offset and Lil Yachty. In April, the company closed a A funding round of 40 million dollars run by music mogul Jimmy Iovine and NTWRK, a mobile e-commerce platform co-founded by his son, Jamie. Individual funders include music industry veterans Guy Oseary, Sylvia Rhone and Troy Carter; artists Pitbull and DJ Paul; and actor Chris O’Donnell.
Forbes valued FaZe at $ 240 million in its most recent ranking of the most valuable esports organizations. The company relies more on its lifestyle brand and gaming content than its esports business to generate revenue, although last year it joined the esports franchise trend, opting for a license to use his name with the Call of Duty League team at Atlanta Esports Venture, Atlanta FaZe.
This month, the company hosted a valiant tournament in partnership with Riot Games. The event had 5 million unique views and nearly 200,000 contestants at its peak, according to Lee Trink, CEO and co-owner of FaZe Clan, who adds that the new sponsorships around it have helped offset the loss of revenue related to the event. the pandemic. The company currently has seven-figure deals with Nissan and Gfuel to sponsor its content and recently hit the billion-view milestone on YouTube.
“Ben’s investment is significant, not only in terms of dollars, but also in how he can use his personality to make an impact on the business,” says Trink. “He’s an OG player here, he was part of the FaZe community long before he got the fame and the money. It’s his continued involvement with us.