FaZe Clan Partners with DraftKings’ Matt Kalish to Form FaZe Media

Published: May 16, 2024

Gaming, esports, and lifestyle brand FaZe Clan has unveiled a new partnership with DraftKings president Matt Kalish to form FaZe Media. The new company will combine the FaZe roster of creator talent and its non-esports assets into what was called a “creator-led IP and internet media company” in a release today (May 16).

The partnership is spearheaded by $11 million of investment by co-founder and current president of DraftKings Matt Kalish. The executive and veteran of the sportsbook business will also take a position on FaZe Media’s board of directors.

FaZe Media will be helmed by Richard “Ricky” Bengston, better known as FaZe Banks, who will take the title of CEO. Yousef “FaZe Apex” Abdelfattah was named COO of FaZe Media, with Thomas “FaZe Temperrr” Oliveira taking the role of president.

GameSquare announces formation of FaZe Media.
Left to right: Justin Kenna (GameSquare CEO), Yousef “FaZe Apex” Abdelfattah (FaZe Media COO), Matt Kalish (DraftKings NA, President and Co-Founder and FaZe Media Board Member), Thomas “FaZe Temperrr” Oliveira (FaZe Media President), Richard “FaZe Banks” Bengtson (FaZe Media CEO). Image: GameSquare

These board members consist of some of the remaining members of FaZe Clan after a dramatic series of layoffs in April. Those cuts saw many of the company’s content creators and esports competitors dropped, as FaZe Clan pursued what it called in the release a “freshly curated roster of key talent.”

This move and the new partnership are part of what CEO FaZe Banks has heralded as a reset for the organization: 

“Grateful for the opportunity at a genuine reset with FaZe Clan. Anyone that’s actually tapped in can agree, this was long overdue. We’ve prioritized pretty much exclusively on creating a fun environment that we (as FaZe members) can find passion in, be excited about, look forward to. Do things we find interesting, exploring opportunities in content we feel are important/ relevant to our culture/ community. Partnering with Matt Kalish and GameSquare has proven paramount in this vision coming to fruition. Slowly, but surely. Exciting.”

Matt Kalish weighed in on his investment within the release: 

“My investment in FaZe Media and decision to join its board is a vote of confidence in the leadership and generational creative talent of CEO FaZe Banks, as well as that of FaZe’s founders and creator roster. I believe this team, with the support of GameSquare’s capabilities and infrastructure, can relaunch the FaZe brand and restore it to the gaming and internet culture juggernaut the founders had originally created.”

The FaZe and DraftKings connection runs deeper than this new partnership though – In 2021, FaZe Clan partnered with DraftKings to become the official sports betting, fantasy, gambling, and ‘free-to-play’ sponsor of the organization.

The new partnership appears to be a change of pace for FaZe Clan following a series of downturns for the pioneering company. Initially a video game clan, the organization rose to prominence in the 2010s as a competitor in esports and a gaming lifestyle brand. However, overspending and a lack of liquidity plagued the company.

In 2021, FaZe Clan announced plans to become publicly traded with a $1 billion valuation. It hit the markets in 2022, only to see its stock plummet. That, and a series of financial blunders, led organization members to call for a reset. The company was acquired by GameSquare in March for a reported price tag of $16 million—a fraction of its initial share price from just two years ago.

The new FaZe Media company will seemingly split the FaZe brand, separating the esports portion from the content creation side – something that some remaining members of FaZe have advocated for in the past.

As per the release, FaZe Media will be a subsidiary of GameSquare, with the company owning 51% of FaZe Media and Kalish owning the remaining 49%. GameSquare CEO Justin Kenna will also sit on the board. 

GameSquare will continue to own 100% of the esports competition assets under the FaZe Gaming banner.

GameSquare is a media holding company focusing on connecting with Gen Z, Gen Alpha, and Millennial audiences. With brands such as FaZe, Zoned, Code Red Esports, and Sideqik under its mantle, it boasts an estimated audience reach of one billion digital natives. Its largest investors include Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the Goff Family.

Michael Hassall

Since: January 31, 2024

Michael has worked in the esports industry for five years after a brief career in marketing. A professional writer for almost a decade, and a lifelong gamer, writing about esports is his one true passion, when he’s not glued to a screen playing the games he writes about.

See all articles from this author