Rapper Swae Lee invests in XSET org founded by former FaZe executives - Dexerto
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Rapper Swae Lee invests in XSET org founded by former FaZe executives

Published: 28/Oct/2020 18:28

by Adam Fitch

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The rapper, who’s half of hip hop duo Rae Sremmurd, has invested an undisclosed sum in recently-launched organization XSET.

Launched by former executives at FaZe Clan, XSET pride themselves on diversity and being free of the “frat house culture” present in other organizations.

Swae Lee initially told Rolling Stone that he had invested eight-figures in XSET, though the organization later explained that that wasn’t the case but didn’t disclose a solid figure.

The rapper and XSET members gathered at the Triller house on October 22 to celebrate the launch of his latest single, prior to announcing his official involvement. As you’d perhaps expect, they played games live on the org’s Twitch channel.

XSET Swae Lee Single Launch
XSET
XSET helped Swae Lee celebrate his new single.

The report states that further deals with recording artists are in the works, as well as with athletes, and are due to be announced in the coming months.

“I always wanted to be on what’s next. There’s a network of people like myself who want to bring simple access for fans,” Swae Lee said regarding his decision to invest.

“XSET, FaZe, they have fans who like to do the same things I like to do, sit at home on a game and be lazy. I want to help make a huge network for all the kids to enjoy gaming, talk about life, talk smack to each other, get merch and have first-person access to rappers.”

Following FaZe Clan initiating president Greg Selkoe’s exit in January 2020, he and a couple of colleagues launched XSET in July. Serving as the CEO, he’s joined by vice president of apparel, Wil Eddins, and vice president of business development, Clinton Sparks.

Rappers and esports organizations have been coming together for quite some time now. Notable moves include Drake with 100 Thieves, Wiz Khalifa with Pittsburgh Knights, Pusha T and Logic with Chaos EC, and Offset with FaZe Clan.

Business

Activision in talks to reduce fees owed by CDL & Overwatch League teams

Published: 2/Dec/2020 22:14 Updated: 2/Dec/2020 22:35

by Theo Salaun

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Recent reports from The Esports Observer indicate that Activision Blizzard are in the midst of discussions to possibly reduce the amount the amount owed by Overwatch League and Call of Duty League franchises as part of their entry fees.

With all OWL and CDL plans derailed over the past year, Activision are reportedly trying to rework the hefty investments that organizations have made into their franchising opportunities. When the massive game development company pitched both leagues, neither was expected to be profitable in the short-term, but projections have taken an even greater hit due to current global restrictions.

A groundbreaking esports concept centered around the city-based model that is used in traditional sports, Activision required $20 million entry fees for the OWL’s first 12 teams and then fees in the range between $30 to $60 million for its next eight. For the CDL’s inaugural season, 12 teams needed to put up at least $25 million apiece, even more for cities that were in high-demand.

Now that the plans for local events have understandably shifted, neither league is expanding for their next season and ownership groups in both are looking for ways to save cash. As reported by The Esports Observer’s Adam Stern, this has engendered cost-cutting discussions with Activision’s latest new senior executive hire, Tony Petitti.

overwatch league 2020 event crowd
Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment
One of the many avid crowds at Overwatch League events.

Petitti, formerly Major League Baseball’s deputy commissioner, was hired by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to a senior role involved with both of their leagues as the President of Sports and Entertainment. He joins Johanna Faries, a former National Football League executive, who brings a traditional sports perspective as the commissioner for both the CDL and OWL.

Given their experience with city-based sports leagues, Activision is likely aware of the profitability challenges that their current esport and sport investment groups are facing. As such, it should be no surprise that they are willing to have conversations about concessions that can make current projections fit closer to the original expectations.

As Stern reports, those discussions have included discounting some of the original entry fees: “one idea that is being weighed is reducing the amount of money they owe to the video game maker.” 

Call of Duty League LAN
Call of Duty League
Following in the OWL’s footsteps, the CDL also had huge enthusiasm for live events.

With Immortals Gaming Club selling their Los Angeles Call of Duty franchise to 100 Thieves and reportedly being interested in selling their OWL spot as well, many are wondering if franchise valuations have shifted.

Fortunately, it appears that the profitability projections have remained somewhat consistent despite current predicaments. As reported by Forbes’ Christina Settimi, 100 Thieves COO John Robinson would not set an exact figure on their LA Thieves purchase, but suggested that “franchise values have held up.”

Activision would likely want to avoid an exodus of owners, so these discussions to cut costs and protect brand health are reportedly ongoing.