One of the world's leading people Fortnite of scammers filed a lawsuit this week alleging that the popular electronic sports organization Faze Clan has been exploiting it financially. The lawsuit depicts Faze Clan as abusive, pressuring the streamer to perform dangerous stunts and drink to minors, but the story is, ultimately, about how to get out of a contract, to make the streamer more and more successful can defend itself. It is a new situation for electronic sports, but not for the creators of online videos in general: YouTubers faced similar problems a few years ago when they trusted networks organized to grow, but since then they have abandoned them for more lucrative opportunities.
Turner Tenney, best known for the "Tfue" handle, filed the lawsuit Monday, alleging that the Faze Clan contract required 80 percent of his earnings and broke multiple California laws. Faze Clan is an organization that works with players and streamers to help them get brand offers and play tournaments. The organization has denied all the accusations and, just a couple of days after the lawsuits were filed, Tenney is also backing down on some of them. Tenney said in a YouTube video published last night that "everything related to the game, the acrobatics, the drinking" was not correct. Tenney added that his lawyer is working to eliminate those accusations. Instead, Tenney wants the focus to be on the "so fucking weird" contract so he can get out of it.
This is a new territory for electronic sports, but not YouTube. The creators have fought for years with companies, known as multichannel networks (MCN), which work with talent to ensure brand agreements and advertising revenues. The creators of YouTube realized that they did not need MCN because advertisers and brands learned more about the industry. Promising personalities and established creators could work with talent agents or themselves to reach agreements.
Tenney's interest in expanding beyond the Faze Clan is disturbingly similar to what happened with multi-channel networks, says Dan Levitt, a talent manager who has worked with some of the most prominent YouTube creators working today. "Do I need to join an electronic sports organization? & # 39; It's the new & # 39; Do I need to join an MCN? & # 39; & # 39; Said Levitt.
Electronic sports are a booming industry, but advertisers still do not. He knew how to work in his favor, said Levitt. However, advertisers understand the importance of views and subscriber numbers. "Players build their own Twitch channels, especially with Fortnite, that relied on personalities, and now there's something to sell to advertisers in a space they want to enter," he said.
Joining an electronic sports organization may mean accepting some strenuous requirements. The flow of more than 50 hours a week, in addition to training to compete professionally, is a common detail in electronic sports contracts, said Levitt. Just take a look at the accusations made by Tenney in his lawsuit for Levitt to say "sounds very good".
For electronic sports organizations, having the most popular transmitters has become as important as winning tournaments, says Andrew Gordon. a lawyer who specializes in electronic sports and has worked with some of the "largest organizations" as his lawyer. "One of the teams I worked with used to say: 'Win or lose, we'll still have more followers and more views,' Gordon said.
It is easy for electronic sports organizations to take advantage of players and Levitt and Gordon told The Verge personalities who do not understand what they are getting into. Contracts often have dozens of pages and are full of legal information that teenage players do not read or understand. Even Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, easily the most recognizable player and streamer Fortnite confessed in a recent broadcast that he did not read the first six or seven contracts he signed. Most 16 year olds do not have a hired lawyer, they are teenagers.
"They are presented with 30-page contracts written by well-paid lawyers, often in situations where they only have days or hours to sign," Gordon said. "It's the most life-changing event in their career and they're under pressure to sign in 12 hours, most are not rich independently, and you need money to hire a lawyer." They do not have much influence with contracts, and they do not have the resources to demand what they deserve. "
Those who work at the top level of equipment and companies like Faze Clan do not agree, Faze Clan co-owner Richard Bengtson, better known as Banks, said that the group "has not picked up anything from Twitch [Tenney’s] your YouTube, absolutely nothing." The lawsuit is just one way for Tenney to get out of his contract, Bengtson said, calling the suit and public drama "complete shit" and said he is "damn injured right now."
Other users and creators of YouTube have also come to Faze Clan's defense, Blevins argued that Faze Clan made Tenney's career and was the "only reason" for the who was invited to several tournament Tenney should have considered the important role Faze Clan played in its success before filing the lawsuit or handling it privately, he said.
"You have the power to go to the companies and say:" Look at all this money and all these brand offers that come for what I am. "You do not deserve 20 percent of a $ 2 deal. millions, "Blevins said.
Tenney may end up being released from his contract, but Gordon and Levitt think it will not change the way electronic sports teams recruit players. At least not yet. Until the talent of existing electronic sports calls for change, teens and young adults will continue to give up everything, or 80 percent of everything, just for the chance to try.
"All power is really in the hands of organizations," Gordon said. "Until things change to give players some of that power, I do not think these contacts change – once players begin to realize that they have power as influencers and begin to demand more, things may change. Perhaps ".