Kyler Murray is taking his talents into the Esports world. The Arizona Cardinals quarterback and the top overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft has joined the Esports organization FaZe Clan as its newest member and investor.
FaZe Clan was founded in 2010, headquartered in Los Angeles, but has grown worldwide in the organization’s 11 years. FaZe became one of YouTube’s most popular video game channels through “trickshot” gaming mixed with a personality-focused approach.
FaZe has collaborations with other celebrity members, such as Ben Simmons, LeBron James Jr., Offset, and Lil Yachty. The Clan has expanded its competitive Esports league to Call of Duty, FIFA, Rocket League, and more.
Murray said that he grew up following FaZe, knowing exactly who they were, and feels as if he and the brand grew up together. He says he’s been gaming since he was about five years old and even as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback, he still clocks in about three hours of gaming on his busiest of days. He plays everything from Call of Duty and FIFA to NBA 2K and Madden.
The star quarterback told Forbes that if he wasn’t an athlete that he would be a professional gamer.
This collaboration is a huge merge for physical sports and Esports, as a Deloitte survey of digital media trends reported that the primary source of entertainment for consumers aged 14-24 is through video gaming.
Though Esports has been around since the 1970s with computer gaming, Murray’s partnership with FaZe will feature his athlete persona to gamers and his gaming persona to his fans.
For the past two decades, there’s been a divide between Esports and physical sports, with Esports struggling to legitimize their platform as a sport of their own. But with Murray joining sides with FaZe, it now allows the line between physical sports and Esports to be blurred and blended.
FaZe CEO Lee Trink said that collaborating with Murray was a no-brainer, as the quarterback will have a massive influence on youth culture with his future work in merchandise, content creation, and social media.
With such a prominent professional athlete as Murray investing in a largely-known Esports organization like FaZe, it combines two platforms that will continue to challenge the norms around both professional sports and gaming.
FaZe Clan and Murray are releasing a collection of limited-edition merchandise that will help boost the collaboration of the two platforms while driving in revenue for future content creation.
This high-profile collaboration comes after the NFL teamed up with FaZe for their “draft-a-thon” to help communities with pandemic recovery efforts, with donations being collected the first night of the 2021 NFL Draft.
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