Entertainment

Tfue’s original lawsuit vs FaZe Clan dismissed by California judge

Published: 12/Jul/2020 12:26 Updated: 15/Jul/2020 9:36

by Connor Bennett

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Fortnite star Turner ‘Tfue’ Tenney has had his original complaint against FaZe Clan dismissed in California, yet, the esports org’s counter-suit is still moving ahead in New York.

Back in May of 2019, Tfue stunned the internet when it was revealed that he was suing FaZe Clan for over an “oppressive contract” that allegedly restricted his business opportunities and claimed that the org took up to 80 percent of his earnings. 

Since then, the two parties have gone back and forth between cases in both California and New York. In March of 2020, a New York judge dismissed several claims in the case – including FaZe’s argument for “intentional interference with contract,” given that Tfue had allegedly encouraged other players to follow in his footsteps and leave the esports org. 

However, in the newest update to the ongoing cases, it appears as if their dispute will be settled on the East Coast and not in California.

Twitter: FaZe Clan
Tfue stunned everyone when it was revealed that he was suing FaZe.

Per Hollywood Reporter, on Friday July 10, Californian Judge David Cowan issued an order dismissing Tfue’s claims that the case should be fought on the West Coast.

Tfue’s side had made the argument that FaZe violated the Talent Agencies Act – which would help esports athletes fall under the same banner as actors and other artists. 

FaZe Clan’s chief legal officer, Philip Gordon, said, “We are very pleased with Judge Cowan’s decision to dismiss Turner’s case. This is one of many moments throughout this legal process when the courts have ruled in our favor. We haven’t wanted to argue this in the press because we don’t want to attack Turner. We care about him and our gamers who have been hurt by this process. The reality is we support Turner and invested heavily in his career — we simply want an outcome that is fair. We look forward to continuing the N.Y. case and feel confident in its outcome.”

Tfue at the Fortnite World Cup.
Epic Games - Fortnite
The Fortnite star’s lawsuit will move forward in New York where he competed in the Fortnite World Cup.

Tfue’s lawyer Bryan Freedman said, “Given the court’s favorable findings on the rulings on summary judgment and the upcoming hearing in front of the Labor Commission concerning illegal procurement, there was no need to have the proceeding in state court. All issues will be resolved in the trial in New York and in front of the California Labor Commission. My client is very confident and looks forward adjudicating these issues.”

While that side of the argument has been put to bed in the state of California, the Fortnite star does have one standing issue on the West Coast in the form of a complaint to the California Labor Commissioner regarding the TAA.

All the other arguments in the case will be moving forward in New York, however, as the argument inches ever closer to a court trial.

However, it isn’t likely to be resolved anytime soon. A start date for the trail has been penciled in for October 5, though, things could change in the weeks and months leading up to that point.

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.