Faze Clan, the gaming company known best for its roster of social media personalities and esports teams, is going public through a SPAC merger next year in a deal valuing the company at $1 billion.
The deal marks one of the first of its kind for the esports industry, which remains a young and fast-growing sector that has nonetheless struggled in recent years to attain the level of viewership and crossover success needed to rise into the mainstream.
Yet Faze, which started more than a decade ago as a collective of YouTube creators in the then-burgeoning Call of Duty scene, fashions itself as much more than an esports firm. The company also runs a successful apparel business and makes most of its revenue through brand sponsorships and partnerships pushed mainly through social platforms and its non-competitive content creators. Faze was also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated earlier this year, marking a level of fame and popularity enjoyed by very few other game organizations and indicative of Faze's youth-centered crossover appeal.
Faze is merging with B. Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp. and plans to raise about $290 million. The company projects sales of about $50 million this year and intends to grow its business with more brand deals, which right now include companies like McDonald's and Doritos.
Much of Faze's future business will depend on its ability to nurture upcoming talent in both the competitive gaming and creator scenes. Each side of the company's business helps sustain the other by creating talent pipelines and ensuring Faze is also staying on top of both competitive and casual trends in gaming.